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,
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
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
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.