Central Luzon govs OK persona non grata declaration vs Reds
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The governors of Central Luzon declared on Friday (July 12) that communist rebels were unwelcome in the region.
The governors agreed on the declaration at the first meeting of the Regional Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTFELCAC) at the Kingsborough International Convention Center.
The manifesto declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as “personae non gratae (Latin for unwelcome or unappreciated personalities)” was presented by Bataan Gov. Albert Garcia, who is chair of the Central Luzon Peace and Order Council; Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda; Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando; Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.; Aurora Gov. Gerardo Noveras and Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap.
For the last three months, no violent rebel activity has been recorded in Central Luzon apart from unvalidated reports that the NPA has been recruiting new members, according to Gen. Lenard Agustin, commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion.
Central Luzon is vital to the Duterte administration’s counterinsurgency efforts, said Carlito Galvez Jr., who heads the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. A retired Armed Forces chief of staff, Galvez also serves as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Central Luzon or Region 3.
The RTFELCAC was formed by Executive Order No. 70, which “institutionalizes a Whole-of-Nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.”
The order enforces a 2017 policy adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations through a Joint Communique of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting which addresses the social, economic and historical problems fueling armed conflicts, instead of pursuing “a sole military option in combating terrorism and violent extremism.” CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE/tsb
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