Town in Leyte now insurgency-free
Matag-ob, Leyte, has been declared by the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police free of the New People’s Army. The military, police and the local officials worked closely with the people to make the town insurgency-free.
A purely military approach will not solve insurgency. The NPA rebels use the issue of poverty and inequality to discredit the government, and they promise they can free them from their poverty and other problems.
That’s why fighting insurgency must include fighting its root causes. And that’s why interagency cooperation with the people is very important. The NPA rebels usually target remote villages and towns as local residents there are defenseless against them.
Matag-ob is not the first town in the Philippines to be liberated from the NPA; entire provinces have long been free of insurgents: Bohol and Aurora, to cite two. We hope Matag-ob will not be the last.
The declaration of Matag-ob as insurgency-free coincided with the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day this year.
—MARTY S. BENAVIDEZ,
Colon and Junqueta Sreets, Cebu City
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