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Quezon marks one year insurgency-free with Peace Summit on Independence Day

By Nimfa Estrellado Quezon Governor Angelina "Doktora Helen" Tan, Senator Francis Tolentino, PNP, and other officials hold the fla...

By Nimfa Estrellado

Quezon marks one year insurgency-free with Peace Summit on Independence Day
Quezon Governor Angelina "Doktora Helen" Tan, Senator Francis Tolentino, PNP, and other officials hold the flag during the celebration year of liberation from insurgency on the 126th Philippine Independence Day, as seen in a Peace Summit held at the Quezon Convention CentCenter on June 12, 2024. (Photo from CICRO Tayabas)

LUCENA CITY, Quezon— Quezon Province, a beacon of hope and resilience, celebrated a year of liberation from insurgency on the 126th Philippine Independence Day. This remarkable achievement was showcased during a Peace Summit held at the Quezon Convention Center on June 12, 2024.

For decades, the people of Quezon Province endured the hardships and turmoil inflicted by insurgency. However, through the collective efforts of the government, security forces, local communities, and various stakeholders, the province has successfully overcome this long-standing challenge.

The summit served as a platform to showcase the province's remarkable progress in peacebuilding and underscore its commitment to national unity. Local officials, community leaders, and residents gathered to celebrate this historic milestone and express their gratitude for the government's unwavering support.

Senator Francis Tolentino, the Senate Majority Leader, served as the keynote speaker, emphasized the government's dedication to fostering peace and development across the nation. He detailed the allocation of P2.160 billion for barangay development programs under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which will benefit 864 cleared barangays nationwide with P2.5 million each for peace-sustaining initiatives.

Addressing concerns over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Senator Tolentino acknowledged the complexities while reaffirming the government's unwavering commitment to protecting the nation's sovereignty and upholding international law.

He condemned recent actions by foreign vessels in the WPS and reiterated the importance of peaceful dialogue and cooperation among nations to maintain stability in the region. The senator emphasized Quezon Province's strategic importance in national defense, referencing the ongoing construction of naval bases in Polillo and other key locations.

While the WPS remains a complex and contentious issue with far-reaching implications for the region and beyond. Resolving the dispute requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the historical, legal, economic, environmental, and security aspects of the problem. By fostering cooperation, dialogue, and adherence to international law, the international community can work towards a peaceful and sustainable future for the WPS.

Its problem is broad and demands a comprehensive strategy to resolution. Diplomatic negotiations, conformity to international law, and cooperation among all parties involved are critical in achieving a peaceful and equitable outcome. The international community is also responsible for facilitating discourse and ensuring that international standards and rules are followed.

Despite the WPS tension, the senator remains positive about the potential for progress through continued diplomatic efforts and collaboration. By staying optimistic and committed to finding solutions, the senator believes that a peaceful resolution to the WPS issue can be achieved with international support.

"Today, we celebrate not only our independence but also Quezon Province's one-year triumph over insurgency," Senator Tolentino declared. "This is a testament to the resilience and determination of the people of Quezon, and a shining example for the rest of the nation."

Quezon Gov. Angelina "Doktora Helen" Tan, Chairperson of both the Quezon Provincial Peace and Order Council and the Regional Peace and Order Council of Calabarzon, echoed Senator Tolentino's sentiments. She attributed the province's success to the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, including government agencies, local officials, community leaders, and residents.

Governor Tan reaffirmed her administration's dedication to sustaining peace and fostering inclusive development in Quezon. She highlighted job creation, economic development, and infrastructure as key pillars in preventing the resurgence of insurgencies.

Over the past year, Quezon Province has made significant strides in various sectors. Freed from the constraints of conflict, the province has experienced a resurgence in economic activity, with increased investments, infrastructure development, and livelihood opportunities.

Moreover, the absence of insurgency has created a safer and more secure environment for the residents of Quezon. Communities have been able to rebuild their lives, children can attend school without fear, and families can enjoy a sense of normalcy and tranquility. The Independence Day celebration is a vibrant display of the province's newfound freedom and a tribute to the sacrifices made by those who fought for it.

"This is a momentous day for Quezon Province," Governor Tan stated. "Our declaration of being insurgency-free reflects the collective will and perseverance of our people. I am challenging everyone to continue working together to maintain this peace and security for the benefit of all." she said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) highlighted the collaborative efforts with national agencies and the government that led to this success. Governor Tan emphasized the importance of addressing poverty, a key factor contributing to insurgency, in order to ensure lasting peace.

During the commemoration, former rebels who participated in the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) were honored and received assistance packages to support their reintegration into society.

Local Government Units (LGUs) were recognized with plaques and SIPS seals, while attendees from both local and national government participated in a dove release ceremony, symbolizing peace in Quezon province.

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