CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Laguna became the second province of Region 4A to be declared as an area with Stable Internal Peace and Security or SIPS after the ceremonial signing of documents held at the Provincial Capitol on Thursday.

The Memorandum of Agreement was signed by Gov Ramil Hernandez and BGen Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the AFP unit which has operational jurisdiction over CALABARZON, during the Provincial Peace and Order Council which was attended by the mayors and government agencies as well as military and police commanders operating in the province.

Colonel Alex Rillera, Commander of 202nd Infantry Brigade, presented the parameters which need to be satisfied in order for a locality to be declared as free from insurgency.

He stressed that “such declaration is a testament of Laguna’s peace-loving people’s desire to liberate themselves from the clutches of terrorism and instead harness their economic potentials by ensuring peace in their community.”

Under the AFP’s phases of normalization, a province is given the SIPS status if no violent terroristic activity has been conducted by the NPAs for at least one year. Per the military, no atrocity has been recorded in Laguna for more than a year.

Gov Hernandez emphasized that the rare distinction was attained “through the national and local government’s concerted effort” through which they “were able to provide lasting solutions to the issues which the NPAs are exploiting, thus, denying the terrorists the ability to recruit our people.”

He expressed confidence that by being known as an insurgency free area, “businesses will further flourish and prosperity shall became a way of life in every corner of Laguna.”

The ceremony’s highlight was the awarding of ₱584,000 to 12 former rebels representing the government’s firearms remuneration under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.

BGen Burgos said that the declaration and handover of grants are tangible proofs that the government is serious and sincere in its desire to finally attain national unity by ending local communist armed conflict.

He added that “the quest for an inclusive peace is now on the doorstep of each Filipino” as manifested by the “unified stand of the Local Chief Executives in operationalizing PRRD’s Directive through the different Task Forces ELCAC at all levels of government.”

He ended his statement by congratulating the people of Laguna and subsequently calling on the “few remaining NPA Terrorists to surrender and be part of the solution to help our country regain its glory so that our people may finally enjoy the peace, prosperity and development which every Filipino citizen truly deserve.”

Laguna became the second province of CALABARZON and the fourth in the entire country to be declared as SIPS following Cavite on Dec 4, 2018, Romblon on Feb 21, 2019 and Marinduque on Mar 25, 2019.

The handover of cheques for firearms remuneration was the second such undertaking in CALABARZON in less than a week after the Sept 20 event at Brgy Magsaysay of Infanta, Quezon wherein five former rebels received Php302,000 pesos.