THE municipality of Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte is eyeing to replicate the efforts of Davao City with Peace 911 to address insurgency in their localities, Lawyer Elisa Evangelista-Lapina, municipal administrator and former Peace 911 Focal, said recently.
Because of the city’s Peace 911, there are already barangays in Paquibato that were declared as insurgency-free attributed to the combined efforts of the security forces, local government units, different government agencies, communities, and other stakeholders.
However, Lapina revealed that the rebels from Paquibato went to the barangay boundaries in Sto. Tomas.
“Of course, we also wanted to call in other barangays na mu-declare gyud ta nga unwelcome na ang mga New People’s Army diri sa Sto. Tomas especially that with our partnership with Davao City, atoang ginapalapdan man kay useless man nga okay na ang Paquibato, okay na ang Davao pero ang lugar namo sa Sto. Tomas mao may ilahang giulian (we want other barangays to also not welcome the NPA in Sto. Tomas),” Lapina said.
Thus, Lapina said that they will step up measures and initiatives to address the root causes of rebellion in their province.
Thus, NPA will be declared as persona non grata in the entire municipality of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte on September 30 in an effort to weed out communists in the area, the authorities said.
Lieutenant Colonel Freddie T. Mesa Jr., executive officer of the 89th Infantry Battalion, said in previous months that they have been conducting massive combat operations against the guerilla fighters who attempted to regain their masses, especially in the Western part of Sto. Tomas after some surrenderers revealed the NPA encampment and hideouts in the area.
Although there have been insurgency-free barangays under their battalion, Mesa said Sto. Tomas community’s cooperation is essential to eradicate the presence of rebels to give way for positive development.
“As of this time, the locals are the best way na makapag-declare ng insurgency-free but then as of this time, yon nga sinasabi ko, we are now tracking them here in the boundaries lalo na ang mga boundary barangays ng Sto. Tomas and Paquibato,” he said.
Currently the barangays of Magwawa, San Jose, Balagunan, Tulalian, Bobongon, and New Visayas in Sto. Tomas already declared the NPA as persona non grata. However, the local government passed a resolution declaring the communists as unwelcome in the whole municipality, not only in the six barangays, which will be officially declared today, September 30.