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Aklan joins 23 ‘liberated’ provinces

MANILA — Aklan and 23 other provinces have been ‘liberated’ from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Tuesday (January 2) announced.

The other provinces are Apayao, Ifugao, Kalinga, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Biliran, Cebu, Bohol, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Cavite, Marinduque, Romblon, Guimaras, Siquijor, and Northern and Southern Leyte.

According to the AFP, the ‘liberation’ is a result of a strengthened adherence to the “Whole of Nation” and people-centered approach instilled in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan.”

The AFP said a resolution declaring Aklan as an insurgency–free province positively showed the success of the efforts of all the stakeholders to include the military in alleviating poverty-induced insurgency through people-centered, multi-sector peace and development projects.

Resolution No. 001, Series of 2011, unanimously approved by the Provincial Director of the Department of Interior and Local Government-Aklan Secretariat, John Ace A. Azarcon, and Aklan Governor, Hon. Carlito S. Marquez last December 8, 2011 at Kalibo, Aklan, said the entire province is declared as an insurgency-free province.

The resolution said the sustained peace and security operations of the military units, with the active support of the Philippine national Police (PNP), and the uninterrupted economic development activities spearheaded by the Provincial government has successfully denied the resurgence of the insurgency in Aklan.

According to the AFP, the threats posed by the insurgents in the province have been addressed. it claimed that there has been no violent incident attributed to the rebels for the past four years. “With this, no Barangay in the province is classified as insurgent-affected; this is based on the latest intelligence reports,” it said.

“True to the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan’s people-centered and whole of nation approach, the uninterrupted peace and security in the province of Aklan has paved the way for development projects as well as infrastructure development projects to succeed and prosper,” it added.

“This is yet another significant gain for our internal security operations which directly benefits our citizenry. This of course will not be possible without the close coordination, cooperation and collaboration of our fellow security forces, specifically the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government units,” says AFP Chief of Staff LtGen. Jessie D. Dellosa.

“We assure that the AFP as protector of peace and stability will continue to exhaust all its efforts to successfully liberate all remaining provinces from communist insurgency and persist on implementing the whole-of-nation and people-centered approach embodied in our IPSP Bayanihan. We encourage all of the stakeholders, especially the citizens to help us achieve our goals and together win the peace,” Dellosa added.