LGUs, Army recommend 11 barangays as insurgency-free

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TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – A total of eleven (11) barangays from Esperanza and San Luis have been recommended by the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion and the LGUs of the said municipalities, free from the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) affectation during the conduct of Community Support Program (CSP) Area Clearing Evaluation (ACE) on Friday morning, October 16, 2020.

After a thorough analysis and spontaneous contribution of ideas from the Local Chief Executive, Punong Barangays, PNP, 26IB, and other concerned agencies, the ACE Chairman Col. Cerilo O. Balaoro Jr., deputy brigade commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade, said these barangays passed the parameters set by Joint Letter Directive Nr. 3, revised version,  series of 2020, to be declared as insurgency-free.

Based on CSP teams, these former CNT influenced barangays are Sinakungan, Salug, Nato, Balobo, Guibonon, Oro, Segunda, Maliwanag, Remedios and Kinamaybay of municipality of Esperanza; and Brgy Coalicion of San Luis.

The 11 barangays that passed the evaluation will now undergo validation to be conducted by the Area Clearing Validation Board (ACVB), to finalize if the said barangays have sustained the parameters set as totally free from CNT affectation prior endorsement to NTF- ELCAC, to be set as priority barangays for development in 2021 and on succeeding years.

“This clearing evaluation from CNT affectation is very important because this will pave the way for the entry of development and economic opportunities in every barangay which means even the delivery of basic services by the local government will not be hampered, which is the main struggle if there is a presence of CNTs”, Col. Balaoro said, as he explained the reasons on clearing the barangays.

As per JLD Nr. 3, a barangay will only be declared as insurgency-free when the parameters are met such as the dismantling of CPP-NPA politico-military structure; the denial of CPP-NPA access to the area, resources, and manpower; and the establishment of a functioning barangay information network and integrated community public safety system, among others.

Relatively, Mayor Leonida P. Manpatilan of Esperanza commended the firm affirmation and perspective of the Punong Barangays in fighting insurgents in their area. “As your local chief executive at the same time your mother here in Esperanza, it hurts me seeing my constituents struggling from fear and discomfort because of the NPA’s presence in your area. Hopefully, you and your people will sustain and continue to refute these lawless elements in order for the local and national government to freely pursue and pour all the necessary infrastructures and economic programs, projects in your areas without being hampered by the NPAs”, she said.

Historically, CNTs are involved on the series of arson activities in the country most especially to construction companies and business establishments who refused their support and denied to give financial support for the extortion activities conducted by the CNTs. “We have to unite and work hand in hand in order to defeat these NPAs. As per mandate to us by EO70 to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, inter-agency efforts are deemed necessary to address the issues and concerns being used as deceptive propaganda by the NPAs”, mayor Manpatilan added.