Wednesday, September 16, 2020

321 NPA supporters and members affirm allegiance to the government

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – Three hundred twenty-one (321) former mass supporters and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) withdrew their support to the terrorist group as they affirmed their allegiance to the government during the Peace Rally and Mass Withdrawal Ceremony at Esperanza National High School Gymnasium, Poblacion, Esperanza, ADS, September 15, 2020.

The former mass supporters and members composed of twenty-nine (29) regular members, eighty (80) MB members, twelve (12) supporters, one hundred fifty-one (151) mass organization members, twenty-three (23) contacts, and twenty-six (26) courier with a total of three hundred twenty-one (321) CPP-NPA-NDF lie-low members, mass organization members and supporters of Guerilla Front (GF) 88, GF89 and GF4B of Northern Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC), all are residents of Esperanza, ADS, voluntarily withdrew their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF and subsequently denounced the atrocities and exploitation of the terrorist group in their community. 

"Daku akong pagmahay sa akong pag-uban sa walhong grupo, ug karon gusto na kong mupahulay ug magpuyo nga malinawon uban ang akong pamilya,” alias Rey said, a former UGMO member.

The mass withdrawal was made possible by the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict “MTF-ELCAC" headed by Hon. Leonida M. Manpatilan, Municipal Mayor of Esperanza through the effort of the 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion in conducting its Community Support Program (CSP) in conflict-affected areas (ConAAs) in the said municipality which aims to help the community identify their common issues and to bring to the attention of the local government unit (LGU) for appropriate actions. 

Hon. Leonida P. Manpatilan, Municipal Mayor of Esperanza said, "the presence of these terrorists is a threat to our security as they instill fear to people in the communities and kill civilians who contradict their propaganda. But today, I am happy to commend all of you for coming back to the fold of law without fear and hesitation.", she said.

The LGU-Esperanza also granted financial assistance to former NPA members during the said activity. "We are now peace partners and rest assured that the LGU-Esperanza will help you in providing what you need to start a new life," Hon. Manpatilan added. 

The national government expedites the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 “Institutionalizing the Whole of the Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict” asserting that all government agencies shall prioritize the delivery of basic services and social development in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities purposely to elevate poverty situation which has become the root cause of enemy recruitment and manipulation of the CTGs.

Hon. Santiago B. Cane Jr., Provincial Governor of ADS, commended the LGU-Esperanza and the 26IB for their converged and collaborative efforts with the PTF-ELCAC in ending insurgency towards a more peaceful and more developed ADS.

"The Philippines has only one flag, the burning of the communist flag signifies your submission to the government. We only have one government, we only have one flag, we only have one Philippines, and we have that democracy. With that, I commend the partnership of LGU-Esperanza and the 26IB for their persistence in our quest for peace and development in our province," he said.

Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A. Goce, Commanding Officer of 26IB, applauded LGU-Esperanza for its untiring support to the unit’s Civil-Military Operations (CMO) activities.

Likewise, he gratefully welcomed the 321 former mass supporters and members in their fearless decision to go back to the mainstream society.

"We sympathize with the NPA supporters who have already realized the deception of this terrorist group, that is why our doors remain open in accepting them back to the fold of the law,” he said.

"We are very grateful that due to our continuous effort in reaching out to our fellow citizens who support the NPA, they are now able to realize the futility of their armed struggle and geared with the support of our local government. We are encouraging all other supporters and members of NPA to surrender now because you deserve a better life," Lt. Col. Goce added.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 26th Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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