40 ex-rebels withdrew their support from CPP-NPA, vows allegiance to PH gov’t

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A total of 40 former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Baler, Aurora revoked their support for the terrorist group and vowed loyalty to the national government on Friday.

After the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) held a community consultation in Barangay Borlongan, Dipaculao town to address concerns about peace and development issues, the rebel returnees abandoned their support for the terrorist organization.

Former rebels, their mass base supporters, military and police personnel, and representatives from concerned government agencies attended the community consultation meeting, which aimed to orient and raise awareness about President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in achieving inclusive and sustainable peace. It will cover the core causes of insurgency, internal disturbances and tensions, as well as other armed conflicts and risks to inclusive development.

“Kami ay nagpupunta na sa kanayunan upang ilapit ang gobyerno sa katulad ninyo upang madama ang presensiya ng gobyerno upang hindi na malinlang pa ng mga communist terrorist group,” said Maria Luisa F. De Guzman, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

De Guzman went on to say that the concerned agencies are working hard to synchronize peace, development, progress, and security, and consequently end the country’s 50-year insurgency crisis.

Meanwhile, Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Abraham Claro C. Casis, the official representative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), said that “the support of everyone is a great help in addressing the root causes of local armed conflict by prioritizing the delivery of basic government services, social development packages, and construction of needed infrastructures with the end-in-view of ushering inclusive development in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.”

Col. Julio S. Lizardo, provincial director of the Aurora Police Provincial Office, emphasized the necessity of government-citizen cooperation in the pursuit of peace and development. He described the initiative as an example of comprehensive peace engagement. Lizardo also asked the province’s remaining communist terrorists to lay down their arms, return to the fold of the law, and take advantage of the government’s reintegration and livelihood programs.

“Hindi maikakaila na tumaas ang kumpyansa ng taumbayan sa ating gobyerno simula ng ito’y ipatupad. Ito’y dahil na rin sa pagtutulungan at pagsisikap ng iba’t-ibang ahensya na nasa inyong harapan ngayon. Ang mga pugad ng rebelde noon, pinaunlad ng Task Force ELCAC ngayon,” he said.

Meanwhile, “Ka Bogie,” a returnee who has been involved in the armed fight for two decades, claims that the CPP-NPA is just instilling fear in the communities. He claimed to have learned that the leftist organization’s ideology, as well as the communist terrorist organization’s military battle, are both futile.

“Nasira po ang pamilya ko, nasawi ang ilang kong mga kamag-anak at hiwa-hiwalay ang mga anak ko. Nawalan ako ng kapayapaan. Bilang dati ninyong kumander, hinihikayat ko kayo para sa totoong pagbabagong buhay at tulungan ang ating gobyerno upang mawakasan ang insurhensiya sa ating mga kanayunan,” Ka Bogie said.

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