Quezon province now rebel-free

Michelle Zoleta - The Philippine Star

LUCENA CITY, Philippines — The entire province of Quezon has been declared free from the influence of communist rebels.

The province has 39 towns and two cities, Tayabas and Lucena, which were declared insurgency-free in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed yesterday by Gov. Angelina Tan together with officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, Southern Luzon Command and Philippine National Police.

The signing of the MOU at the Quezon Convention Center in this city was among the highlights of the local celebration of the country’s 125th Independence Day, according to Col. Ledon Monte, Quezon police director.

“This day marks the turning point for our province. We are the first in the region to be formally proclaimed insurgency-free,” Tan said.

She said investors could now establish businesses in any municipality or city in the province without having to worry about communist attacks.

“The declaration will bring development and improve the economy of the province,” Tan said.

She said government services could now be delivered in barangays that were formerly under the control of the rebels.

During the event, 10 rebel-returnees received livelihood assistance under the government‘s enhanced comprehensive local integration program. — Ed Amoroso

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