FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija — In a bid to quell insurgency problem, the Philippine Army and a local government here activated a task force aimed at ending the threat posed by the New People’s Army (NPA) against peace-loving residents.
The local Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) was activated by the Army’s 69th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Quezon town last week.
The move was reciprocated by Quezon Mayor Mariano Cristin Joson who issued Executive Order (EO) 21 Series of 2019 that established the Municipal Task Force ELCAC.
Maj. Gen. Lenard Agustin, commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division (ID), welcomed Joson’s move as a huge boost to the military’s efforts to end insurgency in Nueva Ecija.
Agustin, at the same time, said that the creation of the local task force was in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s EO 70 which calls for a whole-of-nation approach to end the communist armed conflict in the country.
The military official said the task force will empower Nueva Ecijanos to live peacefully and free from the terror of the NPA insurgents.
“Through the creation of the Municipal Task Force ELCAC of Quezon, Nueva Ecija, the town has empowered its people to finally prevent local communist terrorist from sowing fear into the community,” Agustin said.
“Indeed, things get better when we all work towards a common goal. That is the power of the whole of nation approach,” he added.
For his part, 69th IB commander Lt. Col. Arcadio Posada said that the local task force was a product of a series of dialogues with all the stakeholders, including the Philippine National Police.
Posada particularly cited the cooperation extended by Quezon’s town Liga ng mga Barangay.
In Tacloban City, residents of Barangay San Antonio marched condemned the “senseless and brutal” killing of their barangay captain by suspected NPA rebels.
Barangay Captain Virgilio Loquias was gunned down while fishing with his family and father in law at Mahangin Creek last Thursday.
Loquias sustained multiple gunshot wounds resulting in his death. He was blamed by the NPA for the raid against a rebel camp in the area recently.
Apart from condemning the killing, the residents also asked the military to intensify its campaign to rid out the rebels from the area.
Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy, commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade, vowed military support to the peace-loving residents.
“We are calling the people to stand and fight the inhumane, senseless and brutal actions of this organization, do not let these brigands run fear to our community,” he said.