Negros Occidental may be the last province in the Western Visayas to join the list of those liberated from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army- National Democratic, Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.
Lactao said this is because Negros Occidental has more armed NPA fighters and cadres and influenced areas, compared to Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique and Guimaras.
But he said less than 200 NPA armed members who have established influence in some hinterland barangays of the province, are still operating in Negros Occidental,
Military records show that Aklan recently joined the 23 provinces declared insurgency-free, as contained in a resolution, unanimously approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government, and Governor Carlito Marquez.
In a statement it issued, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said a resolution declaring Aklan an insurgency–free province, shows the success of the united efforts of all stakeholders, including the military, in alleviating poverty-induced insurgency through people-centered, multi-sector peace and development projects, as stipulated in the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan”.
AFP spokesman, Col. Arnulfo Burgos, said the sustained peace and security operations of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Divisions, with the active support of the Philippine National Police, and the uninterrupted economic development activities spearheaded by the Provincial government has successfully prevented the resurgence of the insurgency in Aklan.
Burgos said the threats posed by the rebels in Aklan have been addressed as manifested by the fact that no violent incident attributed to them have occurred in the past four years, with zero barangays classified as insurgeny-affected, citing the latest intelligence reports.
Lactao said 30 Peace and Development Teams of the Philippine Army are now stationed in the hinterland barangays of Negros Occidental, where the CPP-NPA is believed to have established influence on the populace. And while there are still less than 200 armed NPA operating in the province, they are dispersed thinly into small group to avoid detection, he said.
Military records show that 44 rebels have surrendered to the military since last year and they availed of financial and livelihood assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occiodental.
Guimaras, Siquijor, Cebu. Bohol, northern and southern Leyte in Visayas, are included in the list of provinces declared insurgency-free, military records also show..
AFP chief Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa said the military will continue to exhaust all efforts to liberate the remaining provinces from communist insurgency and be persistence on implementing the whole-of-nation and people-centered approach embodied in the IPSP Bayanihan campaign plan.*GPB