Saturday, September 5, 2020

Disillusioned CNT mass supporters yield to Army in MisOr town

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – After years of providing support to the hopeless cause of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT), forty-seven (47) disillusioned mass supporters of the terrorist group finally made up their minds to cut ties with the terrorists and go back to the folds of the law.

The forty-seven (47) former CNT supporters took their allegiance and pledge of support to the programs and services of the government in a ceremony held on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Barangay Tinaan, Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental. The former CNT mass supporters came from the villages of Tinaan, Gumabon and Abunda in Magsaysay town.

The surrender of the mass supporters was facilitated by the barangay councils of the three barangays in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Magsaysay and the Joint Community Support Program (CSP) of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion and the Community Action (ComAct) Team of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The CSP team of the 23rd IB and the ComAct of the PNP are tasked to clear and dismantle the remaining members of the Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A and destroy the Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) CAOCAO and Sub-Regional Sentro de Gabidad (SRSDG) SAGAY of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) of the CNT in the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental.

During the activity, the former CNT supporters also condemned the terroristic activities of the CNTs in their communities that caused underdevelopment and conflicts for years. With their withdrawal of support to the terrorists, they also vowed to provide the necessary support to the Army and the police, particularly in the gathering of vital information to effectively drive out the CNTs from their villages. They also lauded the Whole-of-Nation Approached of the government, saying that such a strategy will finally end the local communist armed conflicts in their areas.

“Alias Lito”, an avid mass supporter and leader of the underground support group of the CNTs from Barangay Tinaan for almost three years said he is already tired of being used and manipulated by the terrorists. He said that poverty forced them to join the CNT movement with a promise that changes in their lives and communities will be achieved by fighting and toppling down the government.

“Tungod sa kalisod sa among dapit, wala pa gyod signal, nasudlan gyod mi sa dautang grupo. Niadtong panahon nga niabot ang walhong grupo, ila kong gipatawag, pag abot nako sa ilang gi meetingan, daghan na diay sila nag tambong. Nag pulong-pulong sila ug nagkuha sa ilang mapa ug nag storya sila kabahin sa kalihukan nila sa ilang bukid. Paghuman nag desisyon sila nga magpili ug presidente ug ako ang ilang napilian busa napugos ko pag dawat sa maong katungdanan apan dako kaayog kahasol ang ilang gibuhat kanamo,” Lito said.

He added that after nearly two years, he and the other supporters from the different villages started to realize that the promises of the CNT leaders are not true. He later regretted joining the terrorist movement that further trampled their lives to poverty and misery.

“Wa ko nagtoo nga ingato ang mahitabo ug maing-ani me karon, wala man gyod unta koy plano mosaka sa bukid aron musupak sa gobyerno kay maayo man ang plano sa gobyerno. Dako akong kalipay nga ang atong gobyernmo nia na mitabang pagsulbad sa kalisod sa atong mga Brgy. Maninkamot kita pagsalikway sa mga dautang binuhatan sa mga NPAs. Akong gisaad nga dili na ko magsuporta sa ila kay dako kaayo ang kahasol nga ilang dala sa among komonidad,” Lito said.

Magsaysay town mayor Rey B. Buhisan who graced the ceremony lauded the courage of the former CNT supporters by abandoning the terrorist group and return to the mainstream society.

“This activity is not for the AFP, PNP nor LGU and the line government agencies. This gathering is designed for you, the people of the three barangays who wished to live normally and peacefully,” Buhisan said.

He added that armed conflicts are hindrances to the different peace and development interventions of the government.

“You were just victimized by the CNTs who destroyed your future and your families. No one will be responsible for solving our own problems, we need to make a move in order to get away from poverty. As you chose to start living a new life, I am sure that you will never regret the decisions you made today because, in the next upcoming years, you will reap the good fruit of progress and development not only in your family but including your whole community and our nation. Our government is always here to listen to your problems and find solutions in any possible way. We will do our best to provide government services to you and we need your support and cooperation. We will develop livelihood projects especially agricultural production for you to have a sustainable livelihood and help our government in recovering the status of our economic system,” Buhisan said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C Paulo, the Commander of 23IB welcomed the former mass supporters of the CNTs during the ceremony and emphasized that they still have the opportunity to change their lives.

“Inside the fifty-two (52) years of CNT existence, they have not gained any significant accomplishment but only hardships, quandaries and anxieties among our people and communities,” Paulo said.

He added that after years of fighting the government, the CNTs are bound to fail as more of their members and supporters are now abandoning their wicked ideology and terroristic activities. The 23rd IB commander also reminded the residents in the area to guard their communities especially the youth from the attacks of the CNTs.

“Now that their numbers continue to dwindle, these CNTs will again manipulate the issues on poverty, unemployment and other common problems to gain support and sympathy, recruit new members and make people embrace communism,” Paulo said.

He also expressed gladness over the realization of the people of the three barangays, saying that their pledge of loyalty to the government will return to them and their communities in the form of services, programs and projects.

“We are glad that you woke up from being enslaved of the said terror group and cut-off your allegiance to them. That’s the very least you can do to help our government rise again. With your decision of coming back to the government, these terrorists can no longer extort money and ask food supplies to support their daily needs. This means they will suffer more from hunger and exhaustion as the people do not welcome them anymore in their community. Without the support of the local populace, politicians, owners of business establishments and other supporters, their group will also die,” Paulo said.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 39th Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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