Thursday, September 10, 2020

60 more CNT supporters denounce, abandon terrorist movement in MisOr

BUENAVISTA Agusan del Norte - Former active members and supporters of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in Misamis Oriental decided to cut ties with the terrorist group to support the continuing peace and development initiatives of the government in their village. 

On September 8, 2020, a total of sixty (60) villagers from Barangay Kamanikan, Gingoog City which includes some members of the Indigenous People (IP) pledged their loyalty to the government and denounced the CNT movement for hindering the development interventions in their village that caused poverty and hunger among the residents for years.

Eight (8) of the villagers once served as members of the Militia ng Bayan while fifty-two (52) are mass supporters of Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A of the CNT. The former CNT members and supporters also expressed their guilt for giving in to the demands of the CNTs which brought nothing but fear and regression in their community.

The activity was conducted by the joint efforts of the Barangay council of Kamanikan and the 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion of the Army. 

During their pledge of allegiance to the government, the residents also condemned the CNTs for their terroristic activities that put into great danger the lives and properties of the residents in the area. They also vowed to support the Army and the Philippine National Police by providing vital information in the continuing drive to end the local communist armed conflicts in their locality. 

Among those who formerly supported the CNTs was Datu Yamon Bunlaod, a tribal leader of Kamanikan, who openly declared that he is already sick and tired of being used and manipulated by the said terrorist group. Bunlaod said he made a big mistake when he supported the CNT because, for years, the members of his tribe did not benefit from it. 

“Ako nalingla kaniadto ug dili diay sayon ang masangkot sa walhong kalihukan, apan karon nakita gyod nato nga grabe ang tabang sa kasundaluhan ug gobyerno sa atong barangay. Gusto nako nga ipahinumdom sa inyo nga kinahanglan na gyod natong putlon ang atong pag suporta sa NPA kay nasayod ko nga naninguha kita ug kahayag sa atong kinabuhi ug ang pag sunog sa bandila sa CPP-NPA maoy simbolo nga ato nang undangon ang pag suporta sa pikas. Hangyo nko nga hinaot unta nga ato kining hinumduman sa matag karon ug unya aron nga ang kalinaw sa atong Brgy magpabilin aron nga magmalipayon kita ug hangtod nga makab-ot sa atong kabataan ang kalinaw ug kahusay sa atong Brgy. Hangyo nako sa mga kabatan-unan nga ayaw na mo pailad sa walhong grupo kay dili sayon, kamo raba ang dali kaayo nila ma recruit. Atong kab-uton ang kahusay ug kalinaw pinaagi sa pagtinabangay sa pagsulbad sa atong problema aron magmalampouson kita hngttod sa kahangturan,” Datu Yamon said. 

  Ruel Burlat, a member of the council in Kamanikan and an active member of CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) was thankful to the efforts of the 23rd IB, the PNP, and the local government unit (LGU) of Gingoog for the help in restoring the peace and order situation in their village. 

“We are glad that you are sincere in helping us restore peace and order in our barangay. I urge everyone to stop providing any support to the CPP-NPA-NDF so that the armed conflict that happened way back May 10, 2020, will not happen again. To all the parents, monitor the whereabouts of your children because they are very prone to CNT recruitment. Let us not allow the CNT to enter into our community because they hinder the development in our area. They are just manipulating and using us to transport food supply but we do not get anything in return. It is heartbreaking to know that members of our tribe, the Higaonon, die in believing in the senseless ideology of the CNTs,” Burlat said. 

Elvin Restituto, the city administrator of Gingoog City showed his support to the activity and urged everyone to help each other to prevent the increase of the influence of the CNTs in the area. 

“This activity is very important because peace is one of the aspects and ingredients needed in attaining development. None of us wants war. We all dream to have peace and order and it is the main reason why we are gathered here today. There is no perfect government nor leaders, but we in the local government will do our best to implement programs and projects through good governance and by providing opportunities for agriculture and tourism development, livelihood development, and the implementation and delivery of health, education, and social services in every community. Let us help one another to develop our community and our nation through unity, understanding, and cooperation in order to achieve lasting peace and development for the benefit of Gingoognon people,” Restituto said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23rd IB said he is happy to be with the people of Barangay Kamanikan especially that the lives of local residents have been saved from the atrocities of the CNTs.

“We are glad that you finally realized that supporting the CNTs will not help you get away from poverty, in fact, it will only add burden to your lives. We are here today because we don’t want you to experience once again the armed conflict that previously happened in Sitio Likodon. As we all know, the conflicts affected the lives of everyone here,” Paulo said.

He emphasized that the government is sincere in helping the people build their new lives through the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program (E-CLIP). 

"The troopers of 23rd IB and the PNP", he added, "will always be the partners of the people of Kamanikan in the quest to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development."

“To the remaining CNT members, it is the right time to go back to the folds of the law. In this time of crisis, particularly the pandemic, be with your family. Lay down your arms and the government will help you as you go on to another journey and in the right path,” Paulo said.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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