From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 9): Bataan declared Central Luzon’s first insurgency-free province
Bataan, especially the town of Samal, used to be known as the hotbed of insurgency.
But on Thursday, Governor Albert Garcia announced that the province was the first in Central Luzon to be declared as free from rebel presence and atrocities.
“This is because of economic growth, jobs that were created, better lives that resulted despite the fact that some years ago, Bataan was like a home base or ground zero for communist insurgency,” Garcia said.
The governor also gave credit to the military, police and other law enforcement agencies for their efforts in helping solve the insurgency problem in the province.
“No communist terrorist activities were monitored in Bataan for period January 2018 to present,” said Lt. Col. Arnel Cabugun, commanding officer of the Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion, in his report to the Provincial Peace and Order Council chaired by Garcia.
Senior Inspector Jennifer Cruz, Samal police chief, said the town used to be well-known as a rebel-infested municipality.
The agricultural town hit the news headlines when sometime in 1986, barefoot armed communist rebels marched on the street to welcome National Democratic Front (NDF) co-founder Satur Ocampo.
“Samal is now considered as one of the insurgency-free municipalities in Bataan because of various livelihood and other programs implemented by Mayor Gene dela Fuente that resulted to more employment opportunities and better life for residents,” she said.
Cruz cited programs on agriculture and projects on capiz which is a major product in the town and cassava-making that has become an export industry.
“Peace and order situation greatly improved. With additional personnel, better equipment, police have made regular rounds of the villages,” the lady police chief said.
Cruz also gave credit to the good rapport between police, municipal officials and the community for the favorable peace and order condition in the town.
On the police index crime solution in the province, Governor Garcia said the number has greatly lowered. “Bataan will remain as one of the most peaceful provinces in the country,” he said.
Pampanga was the second province in Region 3 to be declared as insurgency free, according to the governor.
Garcia said that as Central Luzon chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council, he will work for making the other provinces also insurgency free.
On the drug problem, Bataan seems to also be making a headway.
“There is no more illegal drugs in Bataan. There is an ongoing follow-up to the police regional director on the certification that Bataan is now drug-free,” Senior Supt. Marcelo Dayag, Bataan police director, said.