Nineteen Palawan towns, out of 23 total in the province, have issued their respective “persona non grata” declarations against the New People’s Army (NPA), according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG provincial director Rey Maranan said that to date, only the municipalities of El Nido, Rizal, Roxas, San Vicente and the city of Puerto Princesa have not passed their respective resolutions.
The DILG, along with the Western Command (WESCOM) which coordinates security efforts in the province, has been urging the local governments to formalize their support through the resolution.
“We hope to get the support of officials in having a statement about the declaration of persona non grata. Andyan ang support namin sa DILG provincial office for them to be able to have their own respective resolutions, as well as the heads of our different stakeholders and members of the provincial task force,” Director Maranan said.
The declarations, according to the DILG, is a manifestation of the concerned local governments that they are fully in support of the national government’s drive against insurgency.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año has described the LGU resolutions as a way for local governments to manifest their support to the national government’s anti-insurgency efforts, which has been outlined in Executive Order 70 which prescribed a “whole of nation” approach in dealing with the insurgency.
Año had said that the persona non grata declaration sends a strong message to the rebels that the LGUs are making a stand against them.
3rd Marine Brigade (3MBDe) commander Brig. Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan, reacting to the city government’s stand not to pass a resolution, stating as its basis that there is no insurgency threat facing the city, said Puerto Princesa is considered as an NPA “white area”, as he encouraged the local LGU to pass its resolution.
“We will still endeavor them to pass. We will encourage kasi it will really bring a strong statement na, you (NPA) are not welcome,” he said.
Gaerlan said the arrest of the seven NPA members and leaders in the city early in October is proof that Puerto Princesa is a “white area” being used as a route and a “hiding place”, which should not be the case.
“Kung hindi magpapasa ang Puerto Princesa, gagawin itong daanan, taguan, which we do not like. Kung dito pa lang ay hindi sila welcome, magandang signal ‘yon na hindi talaga puwedeng magsimula dito sa city tapos palabas ng municipalities,” Gaerlan said.