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Quezon mayors pledged protection for their constituents following Bicol-based rebels attack

By Nimfa Estrellado The Philippine flag in the municipal hall of Tagkawayan, Quezon, is at half mast as a sign of mourning for the lives los...

By Nimfa Estrellado

Quezon mayors pledged protection for their constituents following an ambush by Bicol-based rebels
The Philippine flag in the municipal hall of Tagkawayan, Quezon, is at half mast as a sign of mourning for the lives lost due to the New People’s Army attack on September 1.(Photo from Tagkawayan Teleradyo video grab)

LUCENA CITY—The Mayors' League of the Philippines—Quezon Chapter and Governor Angelina "Helen" Tan have pledged to prioritize the security and welfare of their residents in the aftermath of a recent attack by Bicol-based rebels on September 1, 2023, in remote Sitio Pagasa, Brgy. Mapulot, located in Bicol, near the borders of Tagkawayan, Quezon, and Labo, Camarines Norte.

They have expressed their determination to work closely with law enforcement agencies to strengthen security measures and apprehend those responsible for the attack. Additionally, they will be implementing community programs and initiatives aimed at promoting peace and harmony within their respective municipalities.

In each statement, the mayors expressed their solidarity with the victims and their families, denouncing the act of violence as a threat to peace and stability in the region.

They also pledged to work closely with the local authorities and security forces to ensure the safety and security of their constituents and prevent any future attacks.

The mayors emphasized the importance of collaboration and information sharing among all stakeholders to effectively combat terrorism and maintain a peaceful environment for their communities.

Tagkawayan Mayor Carlo Eleazar described the attack as a man-made disaster that jeopardizes his community's progress toward peace and stability.

Eleazar emphasized during his visit to Sitio Pagasa residents that the town government and uniformed ranks are committed to taking immediate action to address the security concerns and prevent any further threats.

He assured the residents that they would intensify their collaboration with the local authorities and security forces, implement stricter security measures, and conduct thorough investigations to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.

The Tagkawayan Mayor is confident that with the collective efforts of the community and the support of law enforcement agencies, they will be able to restore peace and ensure the safety of everyone in the said barangay.

Mayor Nelmar Sarmiento, of Jomalig, Quezon, also expressed his conviction and asked all to be strong in the face of adversity and not let fear divide the province.

He emphasized the importance of unity and encouraged residents to work together to rebuild trust and resilience.

Real Quezon Mayor Diana Abigail Diestro-Aquino reiterated Sarmiento's concerns and stressed the threat of terrorism and disruption.

She assured the residents that the local government is committed to implementing strict security measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the community.

Other mayors pledge the same level of commitment to protecting their respective communities.

They emphasized the importance of unity and cooperation among residents in reporting any suspicious activities or individuals to the authorities.

Amid the ambush in Tagkawayan, despite the insurgency-free zone declaration in Quezon province on June 12, the governor is confident that the local government, together with the police and military forces, will swiftly address the situation and ensure the safety of its residents.

For the governor, this served as a reminder that the fight against insurgency is far from over and that cooperation between the local government and residents is crucial to maintaining peace and security in the province.

"We will not allow the armed forces to completely break the peace in our province; we will continue to act and coordinate with the combined forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, police, and civilians to ensure that the Province of Quezon remains insurgency-free." The governor reiterated her commitment to maintaining peace and security within our borders.

Tan, who is also the chairperson of the Provincial and Regional Peace and Order Council and PTF-ELCAC, also expressed her commitment to providing support and resources to enhance the capabilities of the local authorities and security forces in maintaining peace and order in the region.

She also vows to prosecute any individuals or groups found to be involved in activities that endanger the province's peace and security.

"We will do everything we can to arrest and prosecute outsiders suspected of being members of the CPP-NPA Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC), she said, emphasizing the need to safeguard the peace and security of the province.

She also asks the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or individuals to the authorities in order to maintain a safe and peaceful environment in the province.

Following the combined efforts of the military, police, local government units, national government agencies, and civic groups, the province's thirty-nine municipalities and two cities have already been declared insurgency-free one after the other, but the government continues to prioritize security measures and remain vigilant against any potential threats.

Furthermore, continuing community engagement activities are being developed to encourage local solidarity and cooperation, further improving the province's resilience against any sort of insurgency.

According to the leadership of the Armed Forces and the National Police, a greater force of the Armed Forces was assigned to the border of Tagkawayan province, Quezon, and Camarines Norte in the Municipal Peace and Order Council Meeting held on September 4, chaired by Mayor Eleazar.

This is to ensure that the latest terrorist strike by the CPP-NPA terrorist force does not disrupt the peace. Authorities claimed the rebel elements were from nearby provinces and carried out the ambush that killed four (5) CAFGU Active Auxiliary members from Tagkawayan and injured four (5) others.

In a statement, 85IB Commanding Officer LTC Joel R. Jonson stated that the declaration of Stabe Internal Peace and Security in Tagkawayan and the entire province of Quezon poses a significant challenge.

Although the rebels were unable to infiltrate the province of Quezon in the aforementioned attack, officials stated that authorities will increase monitoring in the aforementioned area of responsibility.

The official also urged the public to be vigilant and alert and to report any suspicious activity to the military and police.

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