PGMA asks Filipinos: Help gov't in campaign vs. insurgency problem

June 16, 2009 10:53 am 

By Zorayda S. Tecson

LAS NAVAS, Northern Samar, June 16 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called on the Filipino people on Tuesday to help the government in its campaign to get rid of the communist insurgency problem in the country by 2010.

The President, while citing the remarkable progress attained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the drive to dismantle the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), admitted that more efforts are still needed to resolve the 40-year-old insurgency problem.

“We have a lot of success in our fight against insurgency. However, there are more needs to be done if we are going to remove this challenge which has plagued the government for many years,” the President told a regional media interview here.

Military data as of May 2009 showed that the membership in the communist terrorist movement dropped significantly from 7,170 in 2006 to 4,874 in 2009.

The same data disclosed that from 100 guerrilla fronts in 2006, only 75 remain active.

It was also noted that the number of armaments in insurgent hands had been reduced nationwide: from 6,060 in 2006 to 5,143 in May 2009.

Likewise, the number of affected barangays had been reduced from 2,121 in 2006 to 1,378 in May 2009, the President said.

Major Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, head of the 8th Infantry Division based in Central Visayas, said he is positive that the insurgency problem, particularly in the region, will be crushed before the term of the President ends in 2010.

In Eastern Visayas, Tabaquero said that of the 11 active guerrilla fronts, seven were already dismantled, meaning only four remain active.

Of the four, two are in Samar and the remaining two are in Northern Samar, he said.

“The fight to eradicate insurgency is everyone´s fight. We all have a duty to perform and a challenge that must be met,” the Chief Executive said.

The President likewise noted the tourist attractions of Samar Island, particularly citing the Rock Formations in Biri, Capul and Gamay; the dive and snorkeling sites in San Antonio, Capul, and San Vicente; the waterfalls and caves here in Las Navas and San Antonio; the historical landmark in the Battle of Catubig.

However, she said, the tourism potentials of Samar Island have been hampered by insurgency.

“Talagang maganda ang Northern Samar, sugpuin lang natin ang insurgency para hindi matakot ang turista na pumunta dito (Northern Samar is indeed beautiful. However, we need to get rid of the insurgency problem so tourists would not be scared to come here),” she said. (PNA)

scs/ZST

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