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AgNorte town declares NPAs persona non grata

THE municipality of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte has declared the Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) as persona non grata following the series of bloody encounters between the government troops and the rebel groups operating in the hinterland barangays which the local government said hinders the delivery of basic services and drives away prospective investors.
The declaration is contained in a municipal resolution approved by the Sanggunian Bayan (SB) chaired by Vice Mayor Amy Cabunoc Pagaspas during its first regular session on July 16, this year. 
Municipal Resolution Number 1-Series of 2019 titled: Declaring the NPA in the Philippines as Persona Non Grata by the Municipality of Buenavista, Province of Agusan del Norte, is authored by Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Datu Manlig-unan Rolando S. Lanapan.
In pushing the measure, Datu Lanapan, a member of the Higaonon tribal community, said many of their tribal leaders were killed when they refused to support the rebels.
“They deceived us and it is but appropriate to declare them as nuisance in Buenavista,” Lanapan said.
In a press conference, Buenavista Mayor Norbert Pagaspas said this declaration is a parallel effort to the military operations in the affected areas.
“The LGU will focus on insuring the constant and continuous delivery of basic social services and livelihood opportunities in the hinter areas. In partnership with the Provincial and National Leadership, we will build road networks to inaccessible Brgys and Sitios to get rid of the presence of armed group hiding in the area,” Pagaspas said.
He named barangays Olave, Simbalan, Sangay and Guinabsan as among the rebel-infested in the municipality.
Pagaspas pointed out that frequent encounters between government soldiers and the rebels have become detrimental to the welfare of our people in the hinterland barangays. 
“This hindered our efforts to deliver basic services in those areas and it defeated our aim of establishing a total of five Economic Zones within the municipality of Buenavista,” he said.
He identified the areas as the centerpiece program of hid administration. These include: 
1.    Malpoc Agro-Industrial Processing Special Eco Zone
2.    Manapa-Dumorog Heavy Industrial  Special Eco Zone
3.    Abila Aqua-Marine Special Eco Zone
4.    Kasilak Light Industrial Eco Zone
5.    Private initiated Eastern Petroleum Group of Company Economic Zone
The design of the economic zones is to establish processing plants which are highly dependent on raw products coming from hinterland barangays. 
“Kung magpadayon ang kagubot sa bukiran sa Buenavista, unsa pa man pag-realize niining kalambuan sa lungsod,” Pagaspas added.
For her part, Vice Mayor Pagaspas, also the wife of the mayor, said the Sanggunian which she chaired is supportive of the municipal government’s programs and projects aimed at uplifting the plight of the marginalized people in hinterland barangays.
Lt/ Col. Francisco L. Molina Jr, Commanding Officer of 23rd Infantry Battalion which operates in the area said: “The declaration made by the LGU of Buenavista is one way of showing that they want peace. And the success of attaining peace rest in everyone’s shoulder.”
Many Higaonon Tribal Leaders were killed when they failed to support the CNTs. They deceived us and it is but appropriate to declare them as nuisance in Buenavista.”-Datu Lanapan added.

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