Posted to InterAksyon (Jul 4): 87 Leyte villages insurgency-free - Army
Communist rebels help plant after Yolanda. VIDEOGRAB
The Philippine Army has cleared 87 out of 189 villages in Leyte province known to be hideouts of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Col. Dino Dolina, commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade based in Ormoc City, said that these rebel-free areas are in Jaro, Burauen, Carigara, Albuera, Ormoc City, and Baybay City.
Clearing operation is ongoing in some 102 villages mostly in Albuera and Ormoc City known to be the hotbeds of insurgents.
These areas are also seen to have societal issues that are being used by the rebels to persuade citizens to join their group.
Although presence of rebel groups is still felt in the province, Dolina clarified that they seldom have encounter with them, making Leyte province more peaceful than Samar areas.
Dolina added that as part of the military’s effort to win villages and people, they are encouraging citizens in rebel-influenced areas to participate in livelihood projects supported by the military.
Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said his government is focusing on ending poverty-related problems by providing livelihood and agricultural support to farmers in far-flung villages, which are main targets of rebel group’s recruitment.
“High incidence of poverty means a break-down of peace and order,” said Petilla.
He said that his administration is promoting livelihood projects of the provincial government in partnership with the military.
On the other hand, Dolina informed members of the provincial peace and order council that they are verifying and monitoring reports about NPA members reported to be coercing some politicians and private contractors in the province.
“A local official from Bohol and a vice-mayor from Cebu had already confirmed this report, but they are still verifying the information here in Leyte,” the official said.