President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is set to arrive in Puerto Princesa City tomorrow to formally declare Palawan province insurgency-free, building upon the initial proclamation made through a joint resolution by the Provincial Task Force ELCAC and the Provincial Peace and Order Council in 2022.
During his visit to the city on September 1, President Marcos is anticipated to confirm last yer’s declaration along with other entities associated with the National Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Clearing Validation Board’s Resolutions Nos. 01 S-2020, 01 S-2021, and 01 S-2022 serve as the foundation for the joint resolution, which declares all designated Focused Areas (FOCARs) and Kinokonsolida Konsolidadong Ekspansyon at Rekoberi (KKER) zones in Palawan and Puerto Princesa City to be officially free from insurgent activity.
The cooperation among law-enforcing agencies has observed an absence of NPA-initiated violent incidents (NIVIs) and non-violent urban activities since the fourth quarter of 2020.
The Regional Intelligence Committee-4B (RIC-4B) claimed in a report that “there are no more existing NPA guerilla formations in the province of Palawan, as evidenced by the absence of any relevant intelligence report since October 2021.”
The Sangguniang Panlungsod expressed its support when it declared Puerto Princesa a zone of peace and development on March 20, 2023.
Aside from operations to dismantle the force of insurgent groups, the RTF-MIMAROPA-ELCAC and PTF-ELCAC Clusters launched a series of socio-economic support programs and packages, as well as information and awareness campaigns, to ensure the welfare of former rebels.
The programs under the provincial government’s Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) and the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) were also extended to former rebels.
Western Command (WESCOM) earlier said that the insurgency-free environment of Palawan could make it a more peaceful home for the locals and a more welcoming destination for guests.
The declaration is also part of this year’s observation of National Peace Consciousness Month in the country. (RPG/PIA Mimaropa-Palawan)