In Samar

The town of Sta. Margarita is the latest area in Samar to be declared as stable internal peace and security (SIPS) status. This declaration, made on May 16, was welcomed by local and security officials of the town. (PHOTO COURTESY)

TACLOBAN CITY—Sta. Margarita town in Samar province is the latest municipality to be declared as having Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) status.

The declaration was made on Thursday (May 16) by the 43rd Infantry Battalion and the 803rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, led by Mayor Felix Panganoron.

The event was attended by Vice Governor Arnold Tan, 802nd Brigade Commander BGen Efren Morados, LtCol Nasser Do Arojo, and Samar Police Provincial Office Deputy Director for Operation LtCol Edwin Barbosa.

The town received the SIPS status due to the absence of recorded non-violent activities and sightings of the New People’s Army for over a year, successful local peace engagements, and the surrender and disaffiliation of former rebel members and supporters from the armed struggle.

“May this declaration pave the way for creating a conducive environment filled with opportunities for further growth and development in the municipality,” said LtCol Arojo in his message.

He expressed confidence that any attempts at local terrorism resurgence would be severely rejected, with the delivery of government programs and services remaining a top priority.

Mayor Panganoron emphasized the importance of maintaining the peace achieved with the help of uniformed forces and other government agencies like the Department of Interior and Local Government.

“The declaration of SIPS is not the end of our journey but the beginning of a new chapter. Let us continue to work together, support one another, and strive for continuous improvement,” he added.

Sta. Margarita is the third municipality in Samar province to be granted SIPS status, joining Tarangnan and Pagsanghan.