By Francis Wakefield
At least 1,500 former members of various front organizations with ties to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) gathered at the Cagayan Provincial Capitol to participate in the flag raising ceremony on Monday morning, March 18, 2019.
The individuals, who used to be members of Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Kadamay, Caguimungan, Anakbayan, Gabriela, and Makabayan in the province of Cagayan, all swore an oath of allegiance to the government and its pro-peace and development efforts while denouncing the said organizations’ corrupt practices, deceitfulness, and human rights violations.
“They create issues so they could deceive us into joining them. They endeavor to gain our trust and support and then abandon us when they no longer have use for us,” said a certain Berna.
“We thought they will truly help us. That is why we are pledging our allegiance back to the government because we know they are sincere and ready to welcome us despite all of our shortcomings,” she added.
Another said that she decided to leave the group due to the exploitation directed on the members themselves.
“Our leaders were more concerned for their money-making schemes rather than the true plight of the lowly members such as myself,” the woman said.
Brig. Gen. Alden Juan Masagca, commander of the 5th Infantry Division which oversees military operations in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region, lauded the former members of the front organizations for voluntarily proclaiming their support to the government.
“It has been the desire of the Armed Forces all along to reintegrate them back to society. We are truly grateful to them for trusting us and giving peace a chance,” Masagca said.
Army Chief Lt..Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, said their surrender is what true progress really means.
“We all come together in unity despite our differing beliefs and backgrounds. We hope that this show of solidarity will convince more of our countrymen who may have been misled by false promises to return to the folds of the law,” Alberto said.
The joint flag raising ceremony was also attended by members of the 5th Infantry “Star” Division, Marine Battalion Landing Team-10, Cagayan Police Provincial Office, and local government officials.