Thursday, August 1, 2019

Zambo Sur dads declare NPA 'persona non grata'

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 1, 2019): Zambo Sur dads declare NPA 'persona non grata'

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Zamboanga del Sur's Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) has recently declared the communist New People’s Army (NPA) persona non-grata in that province, officials said Thursday.

Capt. Clint Antipala, the Army’s 1st Infantry Division information officer, said the declaration was contained in a resolution during the 3rd regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on July 18.

“The provincial government of Zamboanga del Sur, through its local leaders make out the need for a united and intensive effort with the police, military and the populace for the deterrence of any act of terrorism and insurgency in the province of Zamboanga del Sur,” part of the Provincial Board resolution read.

“Whereas, the local leaders, needless to say, expressly abhor any act of violence, intimidation, and the sufferings caused by the terrorists and insurgents in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, thereby, they deem it of the essence to declare the terrorist group as persona non-grata,” the resolution said.

“Whereas, the declaration of persona non-grata of the Communist NPA Terrorist will give the government and its forces advantage as it is a big step to once and for all end the decades-long insurgency in the Philippines,” it added.

Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion commander, said they will intensify military operations to pursue the remaining NPA rebels still hiding in the mountains.

“We also encourage them to go down, lay down their arms peacefully and join their comrades who are now living peacefully together with their families,” Patria said.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan Jr., the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, described the action of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as "a bold move and of great help in our effort to protect the communities from the atrocities of the communist terrorist group (CTG).”

“With the declaration, the CTG will have a small chance of recruiting our people especially the farmers, the youth, the women and the indigenous people who are vulnerable to the deception of this terrorist group. Likewise, we are expecting enhanced cooperation between and among the people in giving information on the whereabouts of this terrorist group”, Gaerlan added.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, Army’s 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the provincial legislators and noted that "the declaration of CTG as persona non-grata is in unison with the EO 70, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

President Rodrigo Duterte's EO 70 seeks to forge a "whole-of-nation-approach” in battling communist insurgency through institutionalized and inclusive peace and development initiatives in the countryside.

“With the help of the local communities, local chief executives and other stakeholders of peace and development, we can end the insurgency, attain a just and lasting peace and continue on with the progress and development of this part of the country,” Ancan added.

NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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