THE Province of Davao Oriental may have zero insurgencies by the end of 2021 following the surrender of high-ranking officials of the New People’s Army, said Governor Nelson Dayanghirang during a press conference on November 18, 2021.

Among those who surrendered were ex-commander of Guerilla Front 18 Johnny, Front Secretary Domai, and three other former NPA members.

Following their surrender, the former NPA members are set to receive benefit packages as part of the provincial government’s social programs for former rebels.

“We are happy that we are now nearing our goal of achieving genuine peace in the province,” Dayanghirang said.

701st Brigade Commander Colonel Oliver Maquiling said there are only a few NPA members left operating in the province.

“We already have around 90- to 95-percent success rate. There’s only a tiny gap. We only need to work together to achieve our goal,” Dayanghirang said.

In order to ease insurgency, the province of Davao Oriental initiated programs such as the Nagkakakisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Caravan (NLD-BOC) intended to provide social services in far-flung areas and barangays.

According to Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Vice-Chairman Ednar Dayanghirang, the provincial government focuses on infrastructure and government services, such as livelihood assistance, rather than armed conflict.

“Insurgency is not just about the armed group, it also has a civilian concept which we address through dialogues and community healing,” said the vice-chairman.

As per the provincial government data, more than 300 NPA rebels in Davao Oriental have surrendered since 2016.