Villagers in three municipalities of Negros Occidental denounced the presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and their atrocities in separate rites this week.
The Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) on Sunday said 210 residents of two villages in Calatrava and Toboso towns, north of the province, participated in the peace rallies.
On March 26, Barangay Bandila chief Eulogio Julom led the activity, attended by 130 participants mostly youth and their parents, in Toboso.
The day before, Barangay Cambayobo chief Dominador Juvahib attended a similar rally in Calatrava with 80 individuals.
Lt. Col. Gerard Alvaran, commanding officer of 79IB, said government troops partner with communities in preserving peace and protecting the youth from recruitment.
“Help us in encouraging our deceived and misled brothers and sisters to end their fake and senseless armed struggle. Let us convince them to come down and embrace the path to peace with their loved ones,” he added.
During one of the rallies, former rebel “Ka Joross” shared how miserable his life was while with the communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
The participants pledged to reject the CPP-NPA in their communities and burned communist flags while denouncing extortion, harassment and deception and recruitment of minors by insurgents.
In the province’s southern part, 280 residents participated in another activity at the People’s Pagbana-ag Activity Center in Hinoba-An town on March 24.
Village and Sangguniang Kabataan officials as well as former CPP-NPA supporters joined the march for peace.
All 13 villages of Hinoba-An earlier passed a resolution, declaring the CPP-NPA persona non grata.
“Let’s unite and reject the presence of terrorists to protect your barangays and families. By moving and thinking as one, we could ensure our resolve in totally denying the existence and menace brought by CTGs,” Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño, commanding officer of the 15IB, said.
Maria Novie Mejica, chairperson of the 5th and 6th District Clusters of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, reminded village officials of their duties and responsibilities to ensure the realization and operationalization of the Barangay Task force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives. (PNA)