New Peoples Army
New Peoples Army

TACLOBAN CITY, May 6 (PNA) –- The Philippine Army had set the June 2015 timetable to declare all towns in Leyte province as insurgency free.

Col. Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Philippine Army’s 802nd infantry brigade, said majority of the towns in the province are not yet declared as free from serious threats of armed rebels.

“We have been finalizing schedule with town mayors when to declare their respective areas. The timing of declaration is up to battalion commanders. We need to move on for Leyte to attract more investors,” Dolina said.

The military is giving priority to Leyte towns within the national road such as Dagami, Burauen, Mahaplag, Sta. Fe, Carigara and Alangalang. It will take more time for Carigara to gain that status since the situation in the area is more serious, according to the army official

Earlier, the Philippine Army and local government units jointly declared the towns of Matag-ob, Merida, Palompon, Matalom, Bato, Inopacan, Dulag, Tabon-tabon, Tabango, Julita and Babatngon as insurgency free.

The province has three cities and 40 towns with some of these are known as former hotbeds of communist movement.

Government troops cited that better services and the participation of all stakeholders in addressing social issues are the key factors of the local government unit’s success in preventing entry and resurgence of the communist terrorist movement and other lawless groups.

“With what the government has been doing, we are showing that we are sincere in addressing poverty. Our stand is consistent. Their struggle cannot be resolved through armed confrontation, but only through peaceful means,” Dolina explained.

The army official said there are still 50 armed rebels in Leyte, particularly in upland areas of Ormoc City, Burauen, Carigara and Jaro towns. The last encounter between NPA and Philippine Army was on November 2014 in Carigara town.

“Armed rebels failed to establish permanent camps because they are aware of our presence,” he added. (PNA)