By Mike Crismundo
CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The former New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists and members of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO), mass base supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA on Tuesday and Friday held a peace rally and condemned alleged violation of ceasefire and communist ideology, regional Army spokesperson Capt. Jerry S. Lamosao of the 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10th ID) today said.
He said their peace rally was in partnership with the local government unit of Pantukan, Compostela Valley (ComVal), other partner agencies and 66th Infantry (Kabalikat) Battalion (66th IB).
Lamosao said these former NPA terrorists and their 290 mass base followers yielded to the 66th IB and LGU in separate surrender rites on Dec. 10 and 12, 2017.
Prior to the peace rally, the former members of CPP-NPA-NDF underwent deradicalization process as part of the mechanism given to individuals who were radicalized by the CPP-NPA-NDF influence, Lamosao said.
It is an activity intended to cleanse the minds of our brothers and sisters who were victims of the communist ideology. This will totally bring them to the realization that caused them to be a part of the insurgency problem of our government. Furthermore, such activity is a form of reinforcement for them to totally solidify their minds to denounce communism and insurgency, the 10th ID regional spokesperson said.
The deradicalization process is done through a two-day “live-in seminar” that was spearheaded by the LGU of Pantukan and facilitated by 66th IB, he said.
The surrenderers were given series of lectures by the different sectors of the government in line with the objective to empower, educate and inform them of the government plans and programs. Likewise, team-building activities were also conducted for them to have a self-actualization, that they are significant part of the community, Lamosao said.
The people were saddened with the recent violations of ceasefire made by the NPA terrorists and the encounter between troops of 66IB and NPA terrorist members of Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 6 and Section Committee (SECOM) 18 both of Southern Mindanao regional party committee (SMRC) that transpired in the nearby barangay (Las Arenas), he said.
The said encounter has been instrumental to arouse the people to denounce the NPA terrorist activities. Also, knowing that the NPAs disrespected the civilian and their properties by ransacking their houses in Sitio Mabugnao, Barangay Las Arenas, Pantukan, CVP, as they celebrated the CPP anniversary, claimed Lamosao in the same statement sent to The Manila Bulletin yesterday.
With that, the group marched around the vicinity of the barangay raising their placards with the following slogans; No to Communism, No to ceasefire violation, Yes to Democracy; We Love Peace and Justice, No to Terrorism; No to NPA, yes to AFP; and other related messages condemning insurgency and communism. In the same manner, the group yelled that they are now denouncing the CPP-NPA-NDF violation of ceasefire and human rights, he said.
Meanwhile, the troops had successfully seized the NPA camp which clearly manifests the unit’s sincere effort to bring peace in the area and the two-day activity has been successfully conducted. The activity formed part of our pursuit to peace and development.
In the same statement, Lt. Col. Palmer M. Parungao, commander of the 66th IB expressed his gratitude to the support extended by LGU Pantukan through Municipal Mayor Roberto Yugo and other partner agencies. “This is not for us, but for our brothers and sisters in Barangay Araibo of Pantukan. Let us protect peace altogether, your Army will do everything to continue working in maintaining peace and protecting it from those who intend to compromise it against our people,” he added.
“The 10th ID appreciates the ‘peace initiatives of the local government and our units involved in pursuing peace. With these former members of CPP-NPA-NDF conducting peace rally and the community as well, it is just a matter of time that all the people will come together and denounce NPA atrocities,” 10th ID chief Maj. Gen. Noel S. Clement also said, in the same statement.
“We will continue to follow the orders and guidelines given to us in line with the SOMO and will remain steadfast in protecting our citizens and vulnerable communities from treacherous attacks of the NPA. We are committed to uphold the SOMO scheduled on 30 December 2017 to 02 January 2018 and maintain our active defense posture in preventing NPA atrocities against our communities. Our soldiers, all year round will continue to foil the evil plans of the CPP-NPA-NDF. We will be together with the people,” he said.