Insurgency in the municipality of Lawaan, Eastern Samar has been declared “manageable” due to the efforts of security forces and local officials, according to the military.
Army Capt. Gene Orense, spokesman of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City , said Lawaan is the latest town in Eastern Samar province to be declared “manageable conflict-affected and ready for development area” by the local government and security forces.
The declaration was contained in municipal resolution No. 24 issued last February 27.
In a statement, Lawaan town Mayor Candida Gabornes said through the declaration, the local government unit will continually exert all its efforts by cooperating, assisting and supporting the military and Philippine National Police in maintaining peace and order in the municipality.
An area is declared insurgency-free if the strength of rebels within its jurisdiction is too small to influence the livelihood of residents.
Once an area is declared as such, the lead role of maintaining peace and order would be transferred to local officials from the military.
Samar is said to be one of the areas in the country with huge concentration of communist insurgents. Other areas with strong rebel presence are Negros, Davao region and Bicol provinces.
Brig. Gen. Romeo Labador, commander of the 801st Brigade, said the improved security situation in Lawaan can be attributed to the cooperation between security forces and civilians.
“We can foresee that Lawaan will soon become a developed municipality in the near future,” Labador said.
Orense meanwhile said a total of 13 towns and one city in Eastern Samar have been declared insurgency-free and “manageable conflict-affected areas.”
These are the municipalities of Taft, Maydolong, Balangkayan, Hernani, San Julian, San Policarpo, Sulat and Boronggan City, Salcedo, Guiuan, Mercedes, Balangiga and Llorente.