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Laguna Achieves Another Milestone: Paete Declared Insurgency-Free

Paete Declared Insurgency-Free

Camp BGen Paciano Rizal, Sta Cruz, Laguna – The Municipality of Paete, Laguna has achieved “insurgency-free” status, becoming the fourth town in Laguna designated as a Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) area. This milestone follows a joint military and government declaration on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Marking a significant step towards lasting peace, a ceremonial signing took place at the Gymnasium in Quinale, Paete, on April 16th. Representing the Laguna Police Provincial Office (PPO) was Police Lieutenant Colonel Franco Allex M Reglos, Deputy Provincial Director for Administration (DPDA). Brig. Gen. Cerilo b Balaoro Jr., Commander of the Army’s 202nd Infantry Brigade (2ID) – a unit under the 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division – participated on behalf of the military. Laguna Peace and Order Office head, Atty. Laurence Pasia representing LPOC Chairman Gov. Ramil Hernandez and representatives from various government agencies in the province (TESDA, DOLE, DILG, and CDA) also attended the ceremony, offering their commitment to maintaining peace.

During the ceremony, Paete Mayor, Hon. Ronald B. Cosico, expressed Paete’s gratitude to the Laguna Police, the 202nd Infantry Brigade, and all supporting forces for their collaboration in securing Paete and the entire province, leading to this achievement. He emphasized the importance of strong families as the foundation of a peaceful community.

“The family is the smallest unit of society,” Mayor Cosico stated, “and it is the foundation of every individual. When families are united, so is the community. Keep your families strong, and ensure open communication with all members to prevent anyone from being misled or recruited by extremist groups.”

On April 4, 2024, in anticipation of securing SIPS status for more municipalities, the Laguna PPO collaborated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to cascade the SIPS process to all provincial police chiefs and mobile force commanders. Laguna looks forward to other towns achieving this distinction.

Laguna’s journey towards insurgency-free areas began in September 2019, when it became the second province in the Calabarzon region and the fourth nationwide to achieve this distinction. Cavite province was the national forerunner, receiving SIPS status on December 4, 2019.

Following this initial success, Kalayaan and Sta. Maria were declared insurgency-free on July 4th and July 31st, 2023, respectively. Most recently, Cavinti became the third municipality in Laguna to achieve SIPS status on February 27th, 2024. With Paete’s achievement, Laguna now boasts four municipalities designated as SIPS areas.

This achievement signifies Laguna’s residents’ strong desire for peace. As PCOL UNOS remarked, “This declaration is a testament to Laguna’s peace-loving people’s desire to break free from the clutches of terrorism and instead focus on harnessing their economic potential by ensuring peace within their communities.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) phases of normalization dictate that a province can be awarded SIPS status if no violent terrorist activity has occurred for at least a year.

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