CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Occidental Mindoro’s Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict has officially declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as persona non-grata via Provincial Council Resolution Number 159.

The document was formally signed by the provincial council and Gov Eduardo Gadiano on Tuesday along with Resolution Number 171 authorizing the latter to “conduct Local Peace Engagement” with the communist terrorists.

Gov Gadiano said that “the resolutions are tangible proof of our citizens’ collective desire and yearning for the much coveted and deserved peace, prosperity and development the attainment of which was hindered by the more than five decades of insurgency across our country.”

Among the highlights of the event held at the Office of the Provincial Governor in San Jose was the handover of cheque representing part of the government’s grants under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP to a former rebel who recently surrendered to government armed forces.

“The local government of Occidental Mindoro will be unrelenting in propagating and supporting President Duterte’s call for national healing and reconciliation because we believe that our time to move forward as one people has finally come,” stressed Gov Gadiano.

The military identified the former rebel as alias Jun, a communist party member who has withdrawn his membership after being disenchanted with the communist terrorists’ exploitation of the Mangyan tribe in the island.

His true identity is being withheld as part of the security protocol for NPA surrenders to prevent possible retaliatory actions from their former comrades.

Colonel Jose Augusto Villareal, Commander of 203rd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the Island of Mindoro, described Tuesday’s event as “a day of glory for Occidental Mindoro because today we witnessed the signing of two landmark resolutions that would further bolster the growth and harness the potentials not only of this province but that of the entire MIMAROPA Region.”

He added that “with no less than the Governor, duly supported by our local leaders, leading the localized peace negotiations, we are confident that more people will openly withdraw their support from the NPAs who, in turn, will opt to negotiate and choose to rejoin mainstream society as productive and responsible citizens of our beloved country.”

He ended his statement by “calling on the NPAs who are terrorizing the peace-loving people of Mindoro to put down your arms while you still can because additional forces and military armaments have already arrived and are now ready to put an end to your numerous terroristic acts and bring you to justice whether you are dead or alive.”

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, lauded the provincial government’s admirable conviction to attain just and lasting peace for their constituents.

“Applying the finishing touches to this insurgency is a very challenging task which is made easier by the political will and cooperation of our elected leaders at all levels of the government” which, according to Maj Gen Burgos, “we hope this will be replicated in other parts of our country so that the Filipino people may be able to finally live the lives that we truly deserve.”

According to him, “every letter in the resolution declaring the NPAs as persona non-grata is a collective proclamation of our people who have gotten tired of these terrorists’ abuses” while adding that “the enemy of the state’s eventual demise is near since they are running out of space to evade our forces who are slowly but surely closing in on their few remaining fighters.”

He ended his statement by assuring the people that “your soldiers will remain steadfast in accomplishing our mandate as advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog.” (ia/PNA)