CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City– A total of 21 local government units in Eastern Visayas have been declared with a Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) status, showcasing significant advancements in the region’s anti-insurgency efforts.

The municipalities conferred with SIPS status are Pagsanghan, Tarangnan, San Sebastian, Sta. Margarita, and Sto. Niño in the province of Samar.

In Northern Samar, the municipalities of Allen, San Jose, Rosario, Capul, and Biri; Bontoc in Southern Leyte; Palompon, Isabel, Matag-ob, Merida, and Hilongos in Leyte; and Giporlos, Mercedes, San Julian, and Taft in Eastern Samar, have been recognized with SIPS status.
Said municipalities were granted the SIPS status because of the successful conduct of local peace engagement (LPE) down to the barangay level and the effective multi-sectoral commitment for peace and security.

During the declaration ceremony in Taft, Eastern Samar, on June 19, 2024, Brigadier General Lenart Lelina, commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade, emphasized that a municipality is recognized with SIPS status only when no constituents are members of the communist terrorist group (CTG).

“Municipalities and provinces free from insurgency are declared to have stable internal peace and security. Hopefully, the entire province of Eastern Samar will achieve this status when all its municipalities are declared insurgency-free,” said Brig. Gen. Lelina.

In a separate SIPS declaration in Leyte province, the 802nd Infantry Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Noel Vestuir emphasized that the declaration of Stable Internal Peace and Security Status represents a victory of freedom from the deceptive ideas of the New People’s Army.

“The SIPS declaration is a testament to the collective efforts and commitment to peace, unity, and progress of all stakeholders. It highlights the importance of embracing peace and working together to achieve reconciliation and sustained development,” Brig.Gen. Vestuir said.

In his message, Taft Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) Chair, Mayor Gina Ty, expressed her gratitude to the law enforcement agencies, community leaders, and the people of Taft for their full support and cooperation in achieving a peaceful community.

“We have come together, united by a common goal, have demonstrated that when we work together in harmony, we can overcome any challenge and create a safer and more prosperous future for our community,” Mayor Ty emphasized.

Alongside SIPS declaration was the ceremonial signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) among Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) and other peace partners.

This MOU aims to strengthen the support of the LGUs in maintaining peace and order, conducting activities to enhance law enforcement operations, and preventing the resurgence of CTGs.

Meanwhile, Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, Commander of the 8ID, reiterated to the people of Eastern Visayas that maintaining a stable peace and security environment cannot be achieved without the support of the region’s constituents.

“The 8ID aims to completely eradicate the decades-long insurgency problem in the region. Therefore, I urge the remaining CTG members to surrender to the government and take advantage of its programs to start a new life. The government is very willing to help you all,” emphasized Maj. Gen. Ligayo. (PR)