Kalinga province declared insurgency free
By Jason de Asis
TABUK, Kalinga, November 14, 2010–The 501st Infantry “Valiant” Brigade, Philippine Army declared the province of Kalinga insurgency-free and transferred the lead role of maintaining internal security to its police and local executives.
Major Rosendo Armas, spokesman of Northern Luzon command (NOLCOM), said the military and the Kalinga Provincial Peace and Order Council have signed a memorandum agreement (MOA) which directs the local government to lead the internal security operation last November 8, 2010.
Kalinga Gov. Jocel C. Baac and Colonel Yerson E Depayso, 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army Chief, signed the agreement.
“The MOA was made possible through a provincial resolution accepting the responsibility in internal security operations from the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Major Armas said, adding that the activity symbolizes a joint declaration of all parties based from the parameters set forth, that Kalinga Province is declared as an insurgent’s free province.
Armas, however, clarified that the military will continue to assist local executives in maintaining security in the province and the AFP will not entirely leave Kalinga but will be the support government agency in the final phase of the (anti-insurgency) campaign.
He added that the province is already cleared from CPP/NPA/NDF and that the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Peoples Army had been decimated.
“In fact, the province has no more insurgents activities recorded and there were no more insurgency affected barangays of all its total barangay. The parties further agreed to strengthen more Internal Security Operations in order to preempt resurgence of the CPP/NPA/NDF in the province,” Armas explained.
The MOA was read in public by Atty Kristian B Wandag, Kalinga Provincial Legal Officer stipulates and agreed by all parties involved, that the primary lead role in ISO responsibilities will shift from the 501st Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army to Kalinga Provincial Government.
The AFP will shift to support role on ISO in the province in order to focus and concentrate its ISO effort in addressing insurgency problems in other areas of its AOR. Among the salient features in the MOA states that the AFP will not abandon the province and still continue to provide necessary assistance serving the people of Kalinga and ready to re assume ISO upon the request of the Provincial Government.
The 501st Infantry Brigade under the leadership of Col Yerson Depayso and its subordinate unit, the 21st Infantry Battalion were able conceptualized, implemented and supervised coordinating plans and activities for the realization of hand over of ISO lead role from the AFP to Provincial Government of Kalinga.
History of insurgency in Kalinga was read by Cpt Adonis B Banez, Brigade Information Officer, narrated the neutralization of the CPP/NPA/NDF in the province.
Governor Jocel C Baac of the province of Kalinga who graced the occasion warmly welcomed the hand over and strongly assured the AFP to continuously spearhead campaigns against insurgency in his province and to deny any recruitment activities by the CPP/NPA/NDF.
Baac told that villagers who joined the underground movements were just deceived by the CPP/NDF/NPA and cropped up that said organization has no purpose at all but to continuously destroy the future of their families, adding that the said undertaking conducted was a success and thanked the 501st Infantry Brigade for their initiative and conceptualization for the realization of the activity which will not only showcase the stable peace and order condition of the province where development activities and investment will continuously enhance.
The governor explained that the province will surely encourage domestic and foreign investors to put up their businesses and to generate greater income for more provincial projects, pointing that the government must safeguard the province against all threats and will never allow them to reenter again in his territory.
Gov. Baac gave recognition to the coordinated effort of the 501st Infantry Brigade, the Kalinga People and other peace agencies which is a good spice for an aggressive and upright political leadership contributory to achieving and maintaining peace and continuous development in the province.
“If peace is continuously maintained and feel by the residents, greater achievements will not be far-fetched for the province of Kalinga and may all the residents show-off unity and cooperation today and in the future to maintain a peaceful and dynamic community which is conducive to live in, as we fulfill our dreams and purpose,” he ended.
BGen Pompeo V Limbo, Assistant Division Commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army who represented MGen Rommel A Gomez said in his speech that the AFP in the province will continue its mandated mission, to serve the people of Kalinga and protect the integrity of the province against all threats.
He added that they are not abandoning or leaving the province but we are only shifting our focus or concentration for ISO in other areas. The Internal Security Defense System (ITDS) through the CAFGU and Barangay Tanod will be more strengthened to reinforce the peace agencies.
Prior the hand-over of the province, all eight (8) municipalities of Kalinga had accepted the primary responsibility of ISO in their respective municipalities through their municipal government under their respective mayors.
“It is the second province of Cordillera Administrative Region next to Apayao which was handed over the Internal Security Operation to its Provincial Government,” he ended. (Jason de Asis)
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