From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 14): Military, police say Pangasinan is insurgency-free
THE military and the police yesterday asked the provincial government of Pangasinan to declare the province as an insurgency-free area.
The proposal was made by the Army’s 702nd Brigade and Pangasinan provincial police office during rites held at the provincial capitol in Lingayan town yesterday morning.
1Lt. Catherine Hapin, spokesperson of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, said a recent assessment of the province’s peace and security status showed the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province has is already at the “insignificant level.”
“It’s already in the insignificant level. It’s not totally zero, they still have presence but it’s already at the insignificant level that they can no longer influence the community,” Hapin said in a phone interview.
“Once insurgency free, more investors will be enticed to put up business there (in Pangasinan). That’s one of the benefits of this (formal declaration),” Hapin said.
Capt. Jay-ar Ramos, civil military operations officer of the 702nd Brigade, said only 18 NPA rebels have been monitored to be still operating in Pangasinan as of last year.
Ramos said there have so far been no sightings of rebels in the province.
“They’re no longer showing up because the residents are already against them, reporting to us the rebel presence,” he said.
He said the insurgents could have transferred operations to Zambales and Nueva Ecija.
Ramos said the recommendation will be deliberated by the provincial council, after which the council resolution endorsing the recommendation will be forwarded to Pangasinan Gov. Amado I. Espino III for approval.
Once formally declared as insurgency-free, Ramos said the PNP will assume the primary responsibility of addressing potential threats by insurgents in the province.
The Army, he said, will play the support role.