SAN FERNANDO CITY — Army troopers and the police have launched intensified operations to end the insurgency problem in the Ilocos provinces.
Colonel Audrey Pasia, the commander of the army’s 702nd Brigade based in Manaoag, Pangasinan, requested the police units in Region 1 to augment the soldiers in its line units, the 24th and 81st Infantry Battalions, to the on-going intensified military operations in the Ilocos provinces to trace the hideouts of the remaining Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs).
The intensified operation is a response by the army’s brigade to the President’s declaration of an “all-out offensive” against the CNTs.
“We must not pass up the opportunity of having a strong-willed President, who has the guts to pull out all the stops to end local terrorism,” said Pasia.
Despite Colonel Pasia’s strong pronouncement, he said that their units still welcome all rebels who would like to surrender.
“The NPAs have an option, either they surrender or we hunt them down. If they surrender, we will protect them and provide the support they need to start a new life,” said Pasia.
Earlier, Region 1 provinces comprised of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Pangasinan, have declared the NPAs as “persona non grata” in support to the government’s Executive Order No. 70, known as the “whole-of-nation approach” which aims to end the local communist armed conflict. Major General Lenard T. Agustin, the commander of the army’s 7th Infantry Division who has been very active in enjoining the local government units under the 7ID’s area of responsibility to support E.O. 70, lauded the “persona non grata declaration of NPA rebels” by the local officials in Region 1. “I believe that this is a turning point in the history of our nation, in terms of putting an end to the insurgency,” said Agustin.