Reg'l peace body declares Davao Region insurgency-free
DAVAO CITY – Davao Region is now “insurgency-free” following the series of successful peace and order initiatives that dismantled the remnants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the area.
During a meeting at the Naval Felix Apolinario Station here Wednesday, members of the Regional Peace and Order Council–Davao (RPOC-11) signed a resolution declaring the entire region as cleared of insurgents as of Sept. 19, 2022.
Davao region is the third region in the country declared as insurgency-free, following Regions 1 and 9.
The declaration came after the five-province Region 11 was declared to have been cleared out of NPA by their respective provincial and city peace and order councils this year.
In March this year, this city was declared insurgency-free, followed by Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte in June, Davao del Sur in July, Davao Occidental in August, and Davao Oriental in September.
Maj. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander and concurrent RPOC vice chairperson, thanked the different agencies and other RPOC members who contributed to achieving an insurgency-free region.
“Where we are now and what we have achieved bespeak well of our excellent convergence and collaborative efforts," he said.
Road to insurgency-free region
In a presentation during the meeting, the Army said the majority of the NPA units operating in the region were under the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
In 2019, the 1001st Infantry Brigade (IB) dismantled Guerilla Front (GF) 54 while the 1002IB tore down GF 51.
Also in the same year, 1003IB dismantled Pulang Bagani Commands (PBC) 2 and 3, while 701IB took down GF15, 25, and PBC 6 and 8.
In 2020, 100IB dismantled GF 33 and PBC 4, the 1002IB – GF 71 (Tala), and 1003IB – GF 56.
Last year, the 1003IB undid GF55, followed by the dismantling of PBC by 1002IB and the dissolution of GF South and North by the 701IB.
This year, the 1001IB dismantled GF’s 2,3, Sub-Regional Committees (SRC) 4, Regional Sentro De Grabidad (RSDG), and Sub-Regional Guerilla Units of SRC 2.
It was followed by the 1002IB’s dismantling GF Alip, followed by the 1003IB–SRGU and SRC 5, and 701IB – GF 18, SRC 1 and 2.
From 2016 to 2022, a total of 437 encounters transpired; 1,597 loose firearms gained, and 1,749 NPA rebels were “neutralized” - 107 killed, 217 captured, and 1,425 surrendered.
Also, 9,985 members of the underground mass organization surrendered, and 401 barangays were cleared from NPA influence.
“We are so happy about this declaration. The development would now thrive without fear of intimidation, harassment, and sabotage from the NPA group,” Mempin said.
Mempin, however, said part of the declaration is a more challenging task, which is the "sustainment and prevention" of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA from recruiting and regrouping.
He noted that local government units (LGUs) would play a big role in sustaining the peace gains in the region.
“All issues being exploited by NPA and used by their propaganda cannot be solved by the military alone but with the good governance of the LGUs,” Mempin said.
Brig. Gen. Benjamin Silo Jr., Police Regional Office 11 chief and RPOC 11 chairperson, said to sustain the insurgency-free status, there is a need to institutionalize the Revitalized Pulis sa Barangay Program.
The program is to identify peace and other public safety concerns such as prevalent crimes, drug problems, health issues, hazards, and disaster-prone areas as well as address insurgency mainly at the grassroots.
Silo said police visibility will help thwart NPA presence in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas. (PNA)
-Philippine News Agency