Peace advocates in this city and neighboring areas rallied residents to reject the “terrorist agenda” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its allied organizations during an indignation rally in General Santos City on December 23, 2020.
About 200 members of multisectoral organizations, including former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, marched along the historic Pioneer Avenue and converged before noon in front of Plaza Heneral Santos in a “show of force” against the CPP, which marked its 52nd founding anniversary.
Carrying placards and tarpaulins, they denounced the terrorist activities, as well as the continuing recruitment of minors and indigenous peoples by the CPP, NPA, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF).
They also burned the flags of the CPP-NPA-NDF to symbolize their continuing protest and rejection of the “communist ideology.”
“It’s time for us to unite and reject their presence in our communities,” said alias Ka Raffy, a former member of the NPA’s “white area” unit.
He said he was witness to the various atrocities committed by the NPA, which mainly victimized civilians and brought conflict to their communities.
The returnee said he saw how rebel units preyed on people in remote communities, causing their situation to further regress throughout the years.
Ka Raffy, who spent more than two decades with the NPA, urged his former comrades to also surrender and join the government’s peace efforts.
“I actually stood up for them right in this same place 22 years ago but I’m here now as a peace and development advocate,” he said.
Maj. Yol Hilado, who represented city police director Col. Gilberto Tuzon, urged residents not to get swayed by the communist propaganda and help counter their activities.
HiIado cited the recruitment of the youth, especially students, and those from the vulnerable sectors by members of its allied progressive organizations to join the NPA.
He specifically cited umbrella groups of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, including party-lists Gabriela, Kabataan, and Bayan Muna.
“They have been fooling us for years and this must end now,” Hilado said. (Richelyn Gubalani, PNA)