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CALABARZON

Calabarzon provinces forge unity vs. NPA

by Saul Pa-a
September 20, 2019

CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal - All five provinces of the Calabarzon Region (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) have forged unity against the New People’s Army (NPA) following activation of their respective Provincial Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).

Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division (2ID), on Sunday said the Southern Tagalog provinces’ spirit of unity signals the “high-five” PTF-ELCAC region-wide implementation in pursuit of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 calling for a “whole-of-nation” approach to end the 50-year-old insurgency in the country.

“The operationalization of PTFs ELCAC signals the institutionalization of a ‘whole-of-nation approach’ in attaining an ‘inclusive and sustainable peace’ by addressing the root causes of insurgency through harmonization of government efforts toward conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities,” Burgos said.

“Cavite was the first to activate the Provincial Task Force on April 4 through an Executive Order signed by then Gov. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla followed by Laguna on April 9, Quezon on April 11, Rizal on August 13 and Batangas on September 10,” he added.

He said the military is confident that through the unified stand of the five local chief executives of the Calabarzon provinces, this will help in "putting an end to the 50-year communist insurgency that has been hampering our potentials and growth as a nation."

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'Decisive blow'

The Army’s 2ID top brass said security forces have already dismantled early this year the GF Honda, the NPA unit which used to operate in Batangas and Cavite.

He described the military’s rare feat “has dealt a decisive blow that crippled the terrorist organization” which government forces claim as “an indicator that the enemies of the state have been pushed to a state of irreversible collapse.”

Burgos also reported that security forces’ assessment was bolstered by the surrender of some 122 rebels who are now enrolled in the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), providing grants and assistance as the former rebels return to mainstream society.

He added that the unity stance among the five provinces was demonstrated through the snowballing of their declarations of “persona non grata” against the NPAs.

According to Burgos, three provinces, three cities, eight municipalities, and 184 barangays have already passed their respective resolutions banning the presence of the NPA communist terrorists from their communities.

“These declarations indicate the local government units (LGUs) and constituents have denied these NPAs their much-needed space and mass base support,” he maintained.

As a prime mover of the Calabarzon RTF-ELCAC, the pioneering regional task group to eradicate the five-decade-old insurgency, the 2ID, along with task force members and stakeholders hosted the recent meeting graced by Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo M Ano, Cabinet Officer Responsible for Development and Security (CORDS) in Region 4-A (Calabarzon).

“I am calling on the few remaining rebels to lay down your arms, avail the grants provided by E-CLIP, work hand in hand with the government and be part of the solution to help our country regain its glory so that our people may finally enjoy the peace, prosperity and development which every Filipino truly deserves,” Burgos appealed.

He said military solution alone cannot achieve peace as the 2ID soldiers have been playing their critical role in the delivery of services to the grassroots like their “Serbisyo Caravan” in Barangay Cagsiay III, Mauban, Quezon last Aug. 30. (PNA)

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