The Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division (2ID) has declared the province of Batangas as free from the communist insurgency.
Maj. Gen. Greg Almerol, 2ID commander, made the announcement during the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) declaring the province as an area with “stable internal peace and security,” between ranking military and provincial government officials held at the Provincial Capitol on Wednesday.
Almerol and Governor Hermilando Mandanas signed the MOA in the presence of members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, mayors, officials of government agencies in the province, and military and police commanders.
Almerol said the province has already met the parameters set under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ phases of normalization, specifically the absence of recorded New People’s Army (NPA) violent activities for at least one year.
Mandanas, meanwhile, thanked the different agencies, soldiers, and police who remained committed to its mandate to help the province attain peace, prosperity and development.
He added that development would always rely on the achievement of peace as a result of the national and local government’s concerted effort, which shows a true zeal of leadership and compassion to its people.
The ceremony also highlighted the presentation of surrendered firearms and distribution of food packs to seven former rebels who were earlier granted monetary support amounting to P455,000, as well as medical services among other benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Almerol lauded the province of Batangas, soldiers, and police for the seamless relationship in fulfilling the silent prayers and aspirations of the Filipino people for a peaceful and prosperous life away from the horrors of terrorism.
“The government’s desire to end insurgency through the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or PTF-ELCAC of Batangas made the impossible possible for the people we have sworn to serve,” he said.
Almerol also expressed hope that Batangas would now be able to further enhance its commercial viability, tourism and other development opportunities.
Batangas is the fifth province in the 2ID’s area of responsibility to be declared as having stable internal peace and security, after the provinces of Cavite, Romblon, Marinduque and Laguna. SOVEREIGNPH