Peace dividend: Armed Forces downsizing in Maguindanao

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2014 06:54 PM | Updated as of May 13 2014 02:54 AM

MANILA -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is downsizing its forces in Maguindanao due to relative peace in the province, a statement from the 46th Infantry Battalion said.

Maguindanao is a stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which signed a peace accord with the government last March.

The 46th Infantry Batallion will be leaving Maguindanao and will be re-assigned to the Davao region, a stronghold of the New People's Army.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, 6th Infantry Division (ID) spokesman, said the battalion's new assignment is due to relative peace in the province, and because there are other areas in the country that need more military presence.

Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz, commander of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, expressed his gratitude to the 46th IB for their contributions and for achieving peace in the province.

He added that due to the 46th IB's contributions, people are no longer afraid to pass through the main supply routes under the 6th ID's area of responsibility.

The 46th IB also helped in building the confidence of people and small businesses due to their support and commitment in pursuing peace in the area.

It is not yet clear when the battalion will be leaving Maguindanao, with Hermoso adding that they are awaiting further instructions from higher authorities.

Seven Army battalions are currently operating in Maguindanao.

About two months ago, the 68th Infantry Battalion was also pulled out of Maguindanao and deployed to Bukidnon, another NPA stronghold.