TACLOBAN CITY, (PNA) — The Philippines Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) is on track on its campaign to wipe out insurgency in Eastern Visayas by the end of 2016, a top official reported.
Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino, 8th ID commander, said all the six provinces in Eastern Visayas have been declared as peaceful and development ready, a big step towards attaining insurgency-free status.
A province is declared “peaceful and ready for development” if armed threats and rebellion are too weak to influence its citizens and way of life. The declaration is made formal by a resolution signed by officials from the local government, police and military.
The next step is to declare the same status in all towns of the six provinces.
“Base on our assessment, their strength is declining. One of the major factor is the conduct of ‘bayanihan’ activities where soldiers are immersed in the different affected villages,” Velarmino told reporters
The tri-boundaries of Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar provinces have been tagged as areas plagued by the New People’s Army (NPA), an armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
This election season, the army is closely monitoring the possible collection of permit to campaign fees by the NPA from politicians. The fee assures candidates’ safety during campaign in remote areas. (PNA)
JBP/SARWELL Q. MENIANO