15 provinces, 2 cities peaceful, ready for dev't

FIFTEEN provinces and two cities in the area of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) are Peaceful and Ready for Further Development (PRFD) while two others, Bukidnon and North Cotabato, were not yet declared due to prevailing security challenges.

Eastmincom Public Information Officer (PIO) Major Ezra Balagtey said on Wednesday, November 8, that as of this year, the two provinces face security threats posed by lawless armed group.

"We cannot spread our troops in our area, [parang] may focus ba," he said.

When a certain area is declared as PRFD, it means that the political-military structures were already neutralized, the Underground Mass Organizations are co-opted, and the Integrated Territorial Defense System is established.

The legal basis of the activities is the Republic Act 8551, which states that the AFP takes the lead role in addressing threat to National Security, and National Internal Security Plan (NISP) wherein the local government unit should assume the lead role in consolidation and development phase.

Efforts are ongoing to restore the normalcy in the area and give way for sustainable and economic development that is free from security threats and with a conducive environment.

"Continuous naman ang ating (efforts) especially yung community support program, focus military operation and coordination with the Philippine National Police," Balagtey said.

Their area of responsibility covers provinces Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani Province, South Cotabato, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Islands, Bukidnon and North Cotabato with two cities, Davao City and Colombio.

Last year, the City Government of Davao was declared as PRFD during the time of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for the basis of the reduction of the rebel strength, clearing of the barangays from the rebel influence to the partnership of the soldiers and the government in the delivery of basic services to the people.
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