Batanes declared insurgency-free
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2013 - 4:42pm

 

The military has declared the province of Batanes as “insurgency free” and has turned over the lead role of maintaining security to the local government. 

Commodore Nodolfo Tejada, chief of the Naval Forces Northern Luzon, said an agreement transferring the internal security role to the local government was signed last Tuesday by security forces and civilian leaders.

“With this declaration of Batanes as insurgency free, more investors and tourists will come to invest and visit the serene and spectacular place in the country and experience the hospitality of the people,” Tejada said in a statement.

An area is declared insurgency-free if the strength of rebels within its jurisdiction is too small to influence the livelihood of residents. The military had previously admitted that the declaration does not necessarily mean the total absence of insurgents. 

The signing marked the first time a Navy unit handed over the internal security operations responsibility to a province. Such turnovers are usually spearheaded by Army units.

In this case, the Navy led the turnover since military sailors are the ones frequently monitoring and securing the maritime waters of Batanes.

“Batanes will now be truly a model of a peace loving province in the country and the safest place to live in on earth,” a Navy statement quoted Basco Mayor Demetrius Paul Narag as saying.

Tejada assured the local leaders that the military would continue to work closely with them to prevent the regrouping of rebels and to promote development.

“Maritime security will be strengthened in the vast sea areas of Batanes to abate the poaching and illegal fishing activities of foreign fishermen,” he said. 

BASCO MAYOR DEMETRIUS PAUL NARAG BATANES COMMODORE NODOLFO TEJADA FREE INSURGENCY MILITARY NAVAL FORCES NORTHERN LUZON SECURITY TEJADA
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