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‘97% of LGUs in North and Central Luzon shored up versus rebels, communists’

Almost 97 percent of the 10,045 barangays in Northern and Central Luzon have condemned via passed resolutions the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

In fact leftist rebels and even their supporters were declared them as persona non grata in, said Northern Luzon Command’s Acting Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Costelo.

“This feat symbolizes the local communities’ denouncement and abhorrence against Communist terrorist groups, and their resolute support to the government’s campaigns to end local communist armed conflict,” Costelo believed.

In a report by NoLCom’s Assistant Chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations, Col. Alaric Avelino Delos Santos, all 23 provinces, 29 cities, and 394 municipalities in NoLCom’s area of operations have declared rebels as “unwelcome and unwanted”.

“We will now be focusing our efforts on the other target communities in the barangay level. The remaining 326 barangays are already on the various stages of deliberation in their respective local government units,” Delos Santos explained.

Costelo attributes the remarkable and significant accomplishments of Nolcom in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) in local communities to the massive community support program (CSP) activities their troops conducted. “As we change perspective from counter-insurgency to peacebuilding, we address the root causes of Communist insurgency veiled through issues of poverty, hunger, and lack of basic services, all of which are exploited by Communist terrorists in an attempt to gain traction to the local populace,” explained Costelo.

He emphasized that “instead of focusing solely on the conventional military approach, we are extending our sincere message of peace and reconciliation to the few remaining Communist terrorists and encourage them to abandon their armed struggle and rejoin mainstream society.”

“As we continue to tread the path to peace and development, NoLCom will continue to work hand in hand with other government agencies and different stakeholders to sustain peace and catalyze development amongst our communities,” Costelo reiterated.

CSP is a flagship program of the military used to clear the community of Communist terrorist infestation, and aim to reintroduce government services and bridge the gap between local governments and far-flung communities.

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