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Matag-ob, Leyte  Freedom Park
The town’s Freedom Park was filled with hundreds of people who came to witness the declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as insurgency free municipality on June 12, 2014.

Army, LGU declares first “Insurgency-free” town in Leyte

By 19th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
June 15, 2014

MATAG-OB, Leyte – The first town ever in the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran; Matag-ob was declared “insurgency-free” as Matag-obanons celebrate the 116th Philippine Independence Day on June 12, 2014.

The declaration which took place at the town’s Freedom Park was formalized with a signing of covenant between the AFP and the municipal government, reaffirming the respective roles and mandate to preserve, sustain the gains and prevent the resurgence of Local Terrorist Group (LTG) and to continually exert efforts, cooperate, support and assist each other, along with other government agencies in preserving the peace and order.

During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion recapped that the town of Matag-ob was one of the municipalities covered by the operations of then Platoon Guerilla (Plaguer) of the Northern Leyte Front, New People’s Army on early 2000.

He added that, the New Peoples Army’s strength was downsized due to tactical offensives initiated by the government forces which resulted to the captivity and neutralization of top cadres from years 2005 to 2007.

In an SB Session on March this year, the 19th Infantry Battalion recommended that Matag-ob, Leyte be formally declared as insurgency-free, as it has satisfied and maintained for several years the requirements stipulated in the National Internal Security Plan (NISP).

The town’s Sangguniang Bayan chaired by Hon. Michael Torrevillas considered the military’s recommendation and subsequently enacted on April 7, 2014, Resolution No. 14-020 which authorized the Hon. Agustin Pedrano, Sr., the Municipal Mayor to sign the joint declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as an “insurgency free” municipality.

Hon. Torrevillas said Matag-ob was already and have been insurgency-free for several years, citing the Matag-obanon’s love for peace and development though he concede that some land owners experienced resistance from the “Samahan sa mga Gagmay’ng Parag-uma” (SAGUPA) years ago.

On the other hand, Col. Dinoh Dolina, commander of the Army’s 802nd Brigade, who signed in behalf of the AFP, said the declaration may attract investors to establish their businesses which will later on improve the town’s economic status.

The ceremonial signing of the joint declaration of Matag-ob, Leyte as “insurgency-free” municipality was witnessed by Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar and P/Insp. Christopher Pangue before hundreds of Matag-obanons.