New EastMinCom chief backs local peace talks

Newly-installed Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) commander Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. has vowed the military’s full support to the proposed localized peace engagement to the New People’s Army (NPA).

In an interview last Saturday, January 25, MGen Faustino cited that the localized peace talks would be more attainable than the negotiations done in the national level. He said in his stint as the commander of 10th Infantry Division, he noticed that most of the former NPA surrendered to the local government units (LGU). This, he said, is a manifestation that the local officials know how to resolve issues in their areas since they already know the cause of the problem.

“This will make our jobs, in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) a lot easier, ” said Faustino.

EastMinCom has presented a localized peace negotiations mechanism to the Secretaries of National Defense and Presidential Adviser on Peace Process and it got a positive nod. 

He said the said mechanism is based on the Executive Order 70 or the “whole-of-nation approach” to end local communist armed conflict signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. With this mechanism, Faustino said the problem on insurgency will not be only focused on military operations but also on the socio-economic aspect which is the cause of rebellion. 

The new EastMinCom chief assumed the command on January 25, from Brig. Gen. Alfredo V. Rosario who was designated as acting commander when Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. was appointed as AFP Chief of Staff on January.

Faustino made strides in the conduct of focus military operations which resulted in the dismantling of various NPA formations and their shadow government in the different communities in Region 11 and 12.

He was also at the forefront of pushing the “whole-of-nation approach” to end local communist armed conflict in the said regions and fully supported the localized engagement framework being initiated by the different LGUs in his Area of Responsibility. This pushed further 10th ID’s peace gains, leading to the betterment of the security landscape in the region.