The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) provided updates on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict in its Area of Responsibility in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) during the Secretary’s visit to Pagadian City on February 16, 2020.
53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Herrera presented the Army’s achievements in peace and security efforts in partnerships with the Local Government Units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) in Zamboanga del Sur to PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar.
With the initiatives of the 53IB’s combat and non-combat operations in collaboration with LGUs and NGOs, the Provincial Council recently declared the Province of Zamboanga del Sur insurgency free and peaceful ready for development with the dismantling of HQ KALAW Platoon and Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU) of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Lt. Col. Herrera told Sec. Andanar that the Army is conducting more initiatives to sustain the gains and maintain peaceful communities from the urban center to the far-flung hinterlands in the province.
During the meeting, Lt. Col. Herrera presented the Breaking Free (from Communist Deception) book, narrations of actual accounts of young people’s fateful journeys who were recruited and once deceived by the CPP-NPA but were able to surrender and went back to the folds of the law.
Also present during the meeting were Irene Dumlao, Department of Social Welfare and Development Spokesperson, and Ramon L. Cualoping III, Philippine Information Agency Director-General.