THE Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is the last remaining stronghold where communist insurgent elements have a foothold in Northern Luzon, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’ Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
According to Nolcom, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon have been cleared of insurgent elements.
“We have very good prospects. There are no more influenced barangays in Nolcom’s territory. Close to 10,000 villages are zero-influenced by insurgents,” Lieutenant General Ernesto Torres said. Some of said villages have also declared the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) unwelcome or persona non grata, Torres said.
“Cordillera is probably the last bastion,” Torres said. However, Torres did not cite the numbers of insurgents in the region or the number of guerilla fronts in it.
“We will embrace them, ensure their safety when they decide to return to the folds of the law,” Torres added.
According to Nolcom, a total of 772 former rebels were aided in availing of Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program benefits since January.
11,724 counter-terror operations and 4,495 joint law enforcement operations have been conducted by the police and the AFP against illegal fishing and logging operations, marijuana planting and harvesting, including the recovery of firearms and bodies.