Officials see 'insurgency-free' Pangasinan by end of 2018 (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2018 - 9:07am

    BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Provincial officials are hopeful that Pangasinan—birthplace of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968—will be declared rebel-free by the end of the year.

    The Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division met with provincial government officials of Pangasinan in Lingayen on Monday to evaluate the status of the province in preparation for an official declaration expected at the end of 2018.

    According to a September 24 report on Pangasinan's Sunday Punch, the Area Clearing Evaluation Board chaired by Army BGen. Lenard Agustin recommended the declaration of Pangasinan as insurgency free in a resolution handed to Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino III.

    In a Philippine News Agency report on September 17, Agustin said that the declaration does not mean there are no communist rebels in the province, saying rebel influence is a factor in assessment.

    "As for Pangasinan, we have assured that the rebel influence is minimal, close to nothing," he said then.

    Board commends police, military
    Pangasinan's Sangguniang Panlalawigan last month adopted two resolutions commending police and military units in the province for helping it achieve "insurgency-free" status.

    "[T]he declaration is not only beneficial to the entire populace of Pangasinan in terms of having a sense of territorial ownership and socioeconomic growth but is also a welcome development on the part of local and foreign tourists who frequently visit the province," both resolutions read.

    The 702nd Infantry Brigade and the Pangasinan Provincial Police Office signed a joint recommendation endorsing Pangasinan as an "insurgency-free" province in June.

    A declaration of being insurgency-free would mean the Provincial Peace and Order Council will take the lead in internal security operations instead of the military.

    The province was also declared insurgency-free in 2010, according to a PNA report at the time. — Artemio Dumlao


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