MANILA - National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on Friday declared the Ilocos Region as "insurgency-free," the first region in the Philippines that achieved the status.
Esperon attributed the developments to the government's offensive against communist forces, as well as the efforts of local government units.
"Region 1 now becomes the first region in the country to be declared insurgency-free," said Esperon, who is also the vice chairman of the country's anti-insurgency task force.
"Through the efforts of our AFP, PNP units, together with the national agencies and especially with the LGUs and our private sector partners. The only guerrilla front of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Region was dismantled effective February 2021," he added.
More than 900 mass-based and underground supporters, he said, "returned to the folds of the law" and are now integrated in society.
Esperon also claimed that guerrilla fronts in Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Region 3 would be dismantled by June.
"May mga guerrilla fronts pa rin sa Mindanao, Samar, Bicol, Panay at Negros na patuloy nating binubuwag at lalo na silang humihina," he said.
The NTF-ELCAC, established in 2018, has a socioeconomic program that benefits areas cleared with the presence of alleged insurgents.
The NTF-ELCAC earlier faced calls to be scrapped, following its red-tagging of female celebrities, some lawmakers, and Senate workers, among others.