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Kalayaan town declared ‘insurgency-free’

SANTA CRUZ, Laguna (PIA) – Once known as a guerrilla base of communist insurgents, Kalayaan town was declared insurgency-free on Monday, July 4 making it the first town in Laguna under the Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) status.

The SIPS status was conferred in a program by an inter-agency body following the absence of recorded violent activities and recruitment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF)and New People’s Army (NPA) for at least one year.

Kalayaan Mayor Sandy Laganapan is hopeful that the SIPS declaration would lead to the town’s progress.

"We know that this declaration would usher in more investors and open up more job and economic opportunities in our municipality," he added.

The program also involved the signing of a commitment by local officials and representatives from government agencies, that they do not welcome the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) and its sectoral front organizations and their activities in Kalayaan. 

ALL HANDS ON DECK. Kalayaan, Laguna achieves Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) status, a first in Laguna province, after an inter-agency body noted the absence of recorded violent activities and recruitment of Communist Terrorist Groups. Photo credits to Kalayaan LGU.

Brigadier General Cerilo Balaoro, Jr., 202nd IB commander, continued his call to the remaining members of the CPP-NPA to return to the folds of the law, join the mainstream society, and benefit from the government’s reintegration program. 

"Let us join hands and continue to support the government's initiatives to end the local communist armed conflict," Balaoro added.

According to Capt. Warren Ching, Civil Military Officer of the Philippine Army’s 202nd Infantry Brigade, Kalayaan once served as an access point and guerrilla base for the communist insurgents.

“Dito dati nahuhuli ang mga matataas na lider ng NPA. Daanan ang Kalayaan mula Northern Quezon papuntang Laguna or Southern Quezon, para siyang highway. Looban kasi siya, lalo na ang (barangay) San Antonio, na dating pinupuntahan ng mga NPA,” Ching added. 

Despite Kalayaan’s SIPS status, the Army said that they will continue monitoring and operating through their patrol base in the area. 

Laguna province was declared under the SIPS status on September 2019, making it the second province in the country after Cavite to do so. However, the Army said that individual declaration of the status in each cities and municipalities would further help the Army’s goals in securing peace and stability in the region.

“Maganda na ang Laguna ay SIPS status. Kailangan din kasi na every municipality ay mag-declare ng SIPS para ma-continue yung information operations natin sa AFP, para masabi natin na itong CTGs ay masabing hindi na welcome sa mga municipalities na SIPS-declared,” Capt. Ching said.

He added: “Tina-target namin na lahat ng munisipyo sa Laguna, including cities, ay mailagay sa SIPS. Sa ngayon ay nagco-coordinate pa lang kami kasi hindi naman siya basta basta. May criteria pa kami para masabi na insurgency free or SIPS status na pino-promote namin." (CH/PIA-Laguna)

COMMITTED AGAINST LOCAL TERRORIST GROUPS. Local officials and representatives from government agencies sign a commitment that they do not welcome the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) and its sectoral front organizations and their activities in Kalayaan. Photo credits to 202nd IB, Philippine Army

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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