MALAYBALAY CITY – (Bukidnon News Dispatch / February 10, 2012) Malaybalay Bishop Jose A. Cabantan has called for the demilitarization of city’s Upper Pulangi district as the Armed Forces of the Philippines increased its presence in the area after sightings of New People’s Army elements were reported since January 2011.
He said the NPA and the military should leave the area and keep it as a “peace zone.”
He told Bukidnon News Thursday night he simply echoed the concern raised by Fr. Peter Walpole, SJ, who heads the Apu Palamguwan Education Center (APC) in Bendum, Busdi, one of the barangays in Upper Pulangi.
He said the classes in the IP school were stopped in January on reports of rebel sightings. The area should be peaceful for the children to continue going to school, he added.
The bishop said the APC has helped addressed the socio-cultural needs of the indigenous peoples in the area especially the children and the youth.
“It is sad to note that the serene atmosphere was disturbed by the presence of armed groups. First the presence of the New People’s Army and now the military,” he said in his letter to Col. Romeo Gapuz, chief of the 403rd Brigade on February 8. He said not only were the classes disrupted but also “the lives of the people were affected.”
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