Leyte province makes headway in fight vs. insurgency, says OPAV official

TACLOBAN CITY, July 26 (PIA) -- “We are making headway on the fight against the rebels,” said Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, during the Network Briefing News interview with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on July 17.

According to Gonzales, the number of former rebels in San Isidro, Leyte is increasing and they are among the beneficiaries of the government’s livelihood projects.

The increasing number, according to Asec. Gonzales, only shows that the rebels are now serious in returning to the folds of the law.

“Right now, the said rebel returnees have started their livelihood projects such as poultry-raisng and egg-selling, which were funded by the Provincial Government of Leyte through Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla,” he said..

He added, “These former rebels are now selling eggs. They are producing 3,000 eggs per day  from the 1,400  layers, given by the province and other businessmen who are helping them.”

Gonzales also said that these people are also into farming. The Philippine Coconut Authority 8 (PCA-8) has also distributed seeds and seedlings, in coordination with the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, as among their intervention to the government’s anti-insurgency program.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte visited San Isidro, Leyte in January, this year,  where he gave assistance to some 262 rebel returnees of the said municipality, of which the group now has increased its  number to 500 individuals.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shakes hands with the former rebels before leaving San Isidro, Leyte during his visit on January 23. (Raul Tiozon/PIA-8)

During his visit, the President also gave P5-million worth of check to Governor Petilla, who leads the Leyte Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC. The amount was used for the construction of the halfway house for the said former rebels. (LDL/GTT/PIA-Leyte)

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