Marcos confident Eastern Visayas insurgency defeated during his term

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Marcos confident Eastern Visayas insurgency defeated during his term
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on May 18, 2024
STAR / Ryan Baldemor

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos yesterday expressed optimism that the communist rebellion in Eastern Visayas – a region with areas that have been labeled as insurgency hotbeds – would be defeated within his term.

Marcos said the situation in the region has improved, describing the progress in the fight against insurgency as “sufficient.”

“Yes, I am very (confident) because I have seen the progress report. It’s getting better and better. It is no longer as chaotic as before. There are still encounters, but they do not come in large numbers,” the President said.

“We have also dismantled their organization. So, I think the progress is sufficient. And I think we will be able to do it in the schedule that we have given ourselves,” he added.

During his visit to Northern Samar last July, Marcos expressed confidence that the province would be declared insurgency-free by the end of 2023.

However, clashes between members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of communist rebels, and government troops were reported earlier this year.

The Presidential Communications Office said in a recent statement that more than 6,200 rebels and sympathizers have surrendered in Eastern Visayas.

The 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division of the Philippine Army meanwhile reported yesterday the death of Cpl. Isagani Balmes, who was awarded last year the Gold Cross Medal – the third-highest military award for heroism.

Balmes was killed in an armed encounter with communist rebels in Northern Samar.

Maj. Gen. Camilo Ligayo, 8th Infantry Division commander, said Balmes exhibited exceptional dedication to his duty and demonstrated heroism by taking the lead in the Community Support Program activities to facilitate the delivery of basic services.

He added that the death of Balmes is a loss of an exemplary soldier who showed unwavering dedication and service in the pursuit of peace in Eastern Visayas.

“The Philippine Army extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Corporal Balmes. His heroism and dedication will never be forgotten,” Ligayo said. — Pia Lee-Brago

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