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Surigao del Norte officially declared insurgency-free

SURIGAO del Norte in Caraga Region has been officially cleared of communist rebels during the declaration and pronouncement of the province as insurgency-free in an activity held at the provincial gymnasium in Surigao City on March 15.

Surigao del Norte Governor Lyndon Barbers said the province is now conflict-manageable and ready for development. 

Also, the military said the clearing of insurgents in the said province was the result of the mass and successive surrenders of the communist terrorist group’s high-ranking leaders.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos and Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilbert Teodoro also attended the activity as the guest speaker and keynote speaker, respectively. 

The activity was also attended by the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo S Brawner Jr, Eastern Mindanao Command Commander LTGen. Greg T Almerol, 4ID Commander Major General Jose Maria R Cuerpo II, SDN 2nd District Congressman Robert Ace Barbers, NTF-ELCAC Executive Director Ernesto Torres Jr., Police Regional Office-13 Director PBGen Kirby John Kraft, 4ID Assistant Division Commander BGen. George Banzon, 901st Brigade Brigade Commander BGen. Arsenio DC Sadural, 402nd Infantry Brigade Commander BGen. Adonis Ariel G Orio, 401st Brigade Commander BGen Francisco Lorenzo, 30th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer LTC Jerold H Jale, “friends rescued” (FRs), SDN Mayors and other government officials.

Participants also unveiled peace markers, signed the commitment for peace, and the former rebels took an oath pledging their support for the government.

In a statement, Abalos commended the efforts of the soldiers who always risk their lives to protect the community from terrorist attacks.

He also mentioned that about 600 insurgency-free local government units (LGUs) will be gathered to share their best practices in implementing the Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP). 

On the other hand, Teodoro also shared insights on security concerns, territorial defense, and supporting efforts to sustain the insurgency-free status of the LGUs.

Meanwhile, 4ID Commander Major General Jose Maria R Cuerpo II said the division under his leadership is always committed to addressing insurgency threats and ensuring the safety and security of the province.

He added that 4ID continues to work diligently to combat insurgency and promote peace and development in its area of responsibility.

In addition, the DILG gave checks amounting to P65,000 to each of the FRs present in the activity under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The money serves as immediate financial and livelihood assistance from the government.

Lt Col Francisco Garellor Jr.,  the 4th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the FRs also received hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and vitamins from the Department of Health-Caraga, P10,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and another P5,000 pesos each from the provincial governor.



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