Surigao Del Norte declared insurgency-free; former rebels receive financial assistance
Fri | March 15, 2024

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Surigao del Norte was pronounced as an insurgency-free province through a ceremonial declaration held on March 15, 2024, attended by Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and other key national and local government officials.

March 15, 2024 (Surigao City) – With the dismantling of the remaining forces of the communist terrorist group (CTG) in the province, Surigao del Norte formally achieved its “Insurgency-free” status with the ceremonial declaration and awarding of financial assistance to former rebels in a ceremony held on Friday, March 15, 2024.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., together with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr., joined the landmark activity spearheaded by the local government of Surigao del Norte led by Provincial Governor Robert Lyndon S. Barbers.

Secretary Teodoro congratulated the people of Surigao del Norte for working together with their elected officials to successfully implement peace and development programs for the province. Such efforts, the Defense Chief said, will ensure that communist insurgency will no longer thrive in the province.

“I am very proud… dahil hindi ito mangyayari kung hindi sinabi ng mga Surigaonons na ‘ayaw ko na, tigil na, umalis na tayo sa insurgency',’’ said Secretary Teodoro.

Secretary Teodoro emphasized the achievement by Surigao del Norte as crucial in enabling the DND’s own efforts in “reorienting, retraining, reequipping, and restructuring how the DND manages and the Armed Forces does things” in consonance with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to “create a multi-threat armed force that will be capable of addressing both internal and external threats, whatever its iteration, as best as we can.”

The Provincial Development Council (PDC) and the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) resolved that Surigao del Norte is now in the “state of internal peace and security,” following the joint confirmation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) that the remaining political and military structures of the New People’s Army in the area have been effectively disrupted and eliminated.

Former rebels of the province, who took their oath to be peaceful and productive members of their community, each received cash assistance from the DILG through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). The former CTG combatants will also receive remuneration for the high-powered firearms they surrendered.

“Sila ay naging biktima, kaya ako ay nagpapasalamat sa pagtitiwala niyo sa gobyerno,” DILG Secretary Abalos said, addressing the former rebels – called friends rescued – who have decided to return to mainstream society.

Joining the momentous occasion were National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Executive Director Undersecretary Ernesto C. Torres, Jr., AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo S Brawner, together with Commander of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command Lieutenant Greg T Almerol, Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division Commander Major General Jose Maria R Cuerpo II, and officials of the PNP, other government agencies, and the local government of Surigao del Norte.