13 villages in Panay island declare NPA persona non grata

Thirteen barangays in Capiz and Iloilo provinces, classified as under the influence of the communist terrorist group (CTG), have joined the list of local government units (LGUs) in Panay island that have denounced the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) this February.

NO TO CTGs. Residents of Barangay Bagongbong in Lambunao town, Iloilo swear allegiance to the government and denounce the CPP-NPA in this undated photo. Bagongbong is among the 13 barangays in Panay island that declared the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata in February 2021. (Photo courtesy of 301st Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army)

The villages are among the 49 barangays in Panay yet to be declared as cleared from the influence of the CTGs, said Major Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson for the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA) in a phone interview on Friday. Panay is comprised of the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, and Antique.

“For us to complete the liberation of Panay we have to clear all affected barangays,” he said.

Of the 49 barangays, 43 are in Iloilo, two in Aklan, and four in Capiz.

Community support programs (CSP), the tool being used by the Philippine Army to clear barangays, have been deployed in those villages, he said.

The declaration of the NPA as persona non grata is one of the parameters to determine that the barangay has changed its perspective, Pancito said.

“These barangays used to be part of the guerilla base of the enemy. The CPP-NPA has been there for so long,” he added.

The 13 barangays are located in the towns of Janiuay, Maasin, and Lambunao in Iloilo and Tapaz in Capiz.

The barangays are Aglobong, Barasalon, Canauillian, Panuran, and Monte Magapa in Janiuay; Agsirab, Bagongbong, and Panuran in Lambunao; and Bolo and Punong in Maasin.

Meanwhile, in the municipality of Tapaz, the barangays are Lahug, Nayawan, and Siya.

The towns of Janiuay, Maasin, Lambunao, and Tapaz, Capiz have previously declared the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata.

Apart from proclaiming the communist group persona non-grata through their respective barangay resolution, the barangay residents also held an indignation activity and burned CPP-NPA flags to mark their withdrawal of support. They also signed their oath of allegiance to the government.

“Hopefully the rest of the barangays will do the same so we can say that we can proceed with the clearing of the barangays,” Pancito said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Perla Lena, PNA)

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