By Freddie Lazaro
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur – – Members of a local peasant group that was being influenced by a left-leaning group have renewed their support to the government in a ceremony held in Barangay Lucbuban, Salcedo, Ilocos Sur, last week, Lt. Col. Charles DZ Castillo, the commander of the Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion, reported.
Salcedo Mayor Leopoldo Geronilla Jr. administered the oath of allegiance to the 19 members of the Timpuyog Ti Umili Ti Karayan Buwaya (TUKB) in the presence of Castillo and other local officials.
Castillo said the TUKB was influenced by the STOP-Exploitation (STOP Ex) peasant group – a suspected front of the Communist Party of the Philippines operating in Ilocos.
“The TUKB members have promised to support all the programs of the government, and they committed to avoiding any influence from the communist rebels,” he said.
Castillo thanked the officials of Barangay Lucbuban and the municipality of Salcedo who were instrumental in opening the lines of communication between the military and the TUKB.
In a phone interview, Major Gen. Lenard T. Agustin, commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, lauded the 81st IB for strengthening the peoples’ trust on the government.
“We must step up our efforts in enlightening the members of any peasant organizations. We have to explain to everyone that supporting the armed struggle has brought nothing but senseless deaths and miseries to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, and destroyed the future of much Filipino youth,” said Agustin.