TACLOBAN CITY – The town of Tabango became the latest town in Leyte to be declared as insurgency-free by the military. The declaration of Tabango as insurgency-free was made on March 30, making the town as the 10th municipality in Leyte to gain such status. Earlier, the military together with their respective municipal officials declared the towns of Merida, Matag-ob, Palompon, Tabango, Matalom, Bato, Dulag, Inopacan, Tabon-tabon, and Hindang under the insurgent-free classification. Col. Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Philippine Army’s 802nd Brigade based in Ormoc City, said that ending insurgency in some Leyte towns is a joint effort of soldiers and civilians.

“This is also coupled by good governance and convergence of efforts of all stakeholders in moving forward towards a just and lasting peace and security,” Dolina said in a mobile phone interview. “The peace we gain will surely pave the way for sustainable development, progress and prosperity in these areas,” Dolina added. Insurgency in Leyte has been manageable since 2006 and government troops concentrated on community service projects to “win the peace.” “We even challenged the New People’s Army to join the government’s efforts since we have the same development objectives,” Dolina said The army official said there are still 50 armed rebels in Leyte, particularly in upland areas of Ormoc City, Burauen, Carigara, and Jaro. The last encounter between NPA and Philippine Army was on November 2014 in Carigara town. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)