President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., assured that the government is now working to also put the entire Mimaropa region free from insurgency after declarations made in Puerto Princesa City and Palawan on September 1.
In his visit, Pres. Marcos said that the collaborative effort of various agencies contributed to the insurgency-free status of Palawan Island, including the city of Puerto Princesa. He also cited the commitment of peace adviser Carlito Galves, Jr., to make Mimaropa an insurgency-free region and gradually bring rebels back to society.
“Ang secretary ng ating OPAPRU ay nakakapangako na siya na magiging insurgency-free na ang Mimaropa. Malapit na, masasabi na yong mga natira ay tinatrabaho natin, dahandahan ay bumabalik na ang mga dating lumalaban sa gobyerno sa ating lipunan. Para magkaroon sila ng hanapbuhay, maalagaan nila ang kanilang mga pamilya,” he said.
The pronouncement was made following the declaration of the Joint Palawan Provincial Task Force ELCAC (PTF-ELCAC) and the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in 2022.
The joint resolution claimed that all focused areas (FOCARs) and Kinokonsolida Konsolidadong Ekspansyon at Rekoberi (KKER) areas in Palawan and Puerto Princesa City are all cleared based on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Clearing Validation Board Resolutions Nrs. 01 s-2020, 01 s-2021, and 01 s-2022.
Marcos recognized the collaborative efforts among provincial and regional task forces of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), as well as the involvement of the local chief executives in the implementation of the program.
The status attained by the province is the result of the commitment of local government units to end the decades-long insurgency through the national reintegration program for former rebels, he added. However, there is still a need to make the presence of the government felt by all Filipinos to help speed up the peace talks.
“Mamumundok ang isang rebelde dahil sa kaniyang palagay ay hindi sila tinutulungan ng kanilang pamahalaan, ng kanilang mga opsiyal. They are neglected and have lost hope in a peaceful life, a peaceful society; that’s why they resort to violence, to fighting in different forms,” he said.
Marcos also rang the gong to signify the opening of National Peace Consciousness Month. Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron expressed hope that Marcos’ visit would highlight the commitment to peace and building a progressive nation.
“I hope that your first visit as president in celebration of National Peace Consciousness Month and the declaration of Puerto Princesa and Palawan as insurgency-free underscore our commitment to peace and progressive nation-building through decisive and caring local actions,” Bayron said.
Meanwhile, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Sec. Ivan John Uy commits to fast-track program implementations in Palawan to digitally transform the province.