Peace council says Ilocos Sur is rebel-free

VIGAN CITY, April 23 (PIA) – – Ilocos Sur is on its way to achieving its full development following the adoption of a measure declaring the province as insurgency-free.

The resolution – stating that no village remained under the influence of the communist rebels New Peoples’ Army – was adopted by the members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council and recommended by the Philippine Army.

Lt. Colonel Desiderio Alaba, commander of the Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion based in Narvacan town, however, said the provincial board still has to concur with the PPOC measure by adopting a formal resolution that will officially declare the province as insurgency-free.

He said the resolution has been forwarded to the office of the provincial board for further review and approval.

“Although the resolution had been approved by the PPOC, the provincial board has the fullest authority to concur with the formal declaration of Ilocos Sur as insurgency – free,” he noted.

Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, PPOC chair, welcomed the declaration of the province as insurgency –free noting that more investors are inclined to open shop when an area is known to be peaceful and safe to tourists.

Alaba said the NPA had already ceased to exist in the province as shown by the recent surrender of its key leaders and dwindling strength and membership.

He said the passage of PPOC Resolution No. 1, series 2013 declaring Ilocos Sur as peaceful and investment – friendly province was very significant for economic development.

Alaba assured the PPOC that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the police and the Local Government Units (LGU) will sustain its anti-insurgency campaign despite the declaration.

“The local government will now be in the frontline in protecting communities from insurgency. Our armed forces will only provide support,” he said. (MCA/FGL PIA- 1/Ilocos Sur)

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