Tuesday, December 1, 2020

34 CNT members surrender; 278 withdrew terrorist movement support in AgNor

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte
– A total of 34 members of the Milisya ng Bayan (MB) abandoned the communist movement while another 278 denounced and withdrew their support to the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) during the mass surrender and withdrawal of support ceremony held on Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at Sitio Hinandayan, Barangay Camagong, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

In a mass surrender activity spearheaded by the 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion with the support of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Nasipit and other line agencies of the government, thirty-four (34) Milisya ng Bayan (MB) members, one (1) of which is a member of the Sangay sa Partido sa Lokalidad surrendered and 278 members of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO), unanimously withdrawn their support from Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing the NPA, and political structure under the National Democratic Front (NDF) and pledged their support to the government of the Republic of the Philippines.

They also surrendered to the government two (2) cal. 357 revolver and five (5) homemade shotguns from MB and five (5) shotguns from UGMO). Among those who yielded to the 23rd IB, troopers are members of the Indigenous People (IP) in the area.

During the ceremony, the former members and supporters denounced the CNT movement for hindering the development interventions of the government to their villages. The CNT presence, they added, has caused poverty and hunger among the residents in the area for years. They also expressed guilt for giving support to the CNT and admitted that such action was due to fear and intimidation.

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 (PNP) by providing vital information in the continuing drive to end the local communist armed conflicts in their locality.

The activity on Tuesday was also aimed to neutralize the CNT and clear the area from their terroristic activities that risked the lives of the civilians. Sitio Hinandayan is a known mass base of the CNT where recruitment and training of rebels once prevailed. After the mass surrender, the residents expressed gratitude to the Army, the LGU, and the line agencies of the government for freeing them from the claws of the terrorists.

Among those who surrendered was Alias “Nardo,” a CNT supporter for years who felt a relief as he faces a new chapter of his life after being freed from the communist influence.

“Dako among pasalamat sa kasundaluhan, kapulisan ug sa gobyerno tungod kay naningkamot ug nag sakripisyo sila para makabaton ug kahapsay ug kalinaw ang maong lugar. Sa una, wala gyud mi mahimo kung muanha sila sa amo, mangayo og pagkaon, mangilkil ug suguon mi sa paghatod sa ilang mga supplies padulong sa ilang kampo kay mahadlok mi basin patyon mi nila kung mo supak mi kay naa silay dala nga mga armas. Nahadlok mi nga basin madamay pa ang among pamilya kung magmagahi kami sa among ulo. Dili usab namo ma protektahan ang matag usa busa dako among pasalamat sa panahon nga anaa nay presensya sa kasundaluhan ug kapulisan sa among lugar kay ilang giabog palayo ang mga NPA ug ilang gipasabot kanamo ang importansya sa kalinaw aron makasulod ang kalambuan nga dugay na namong gipangandoy," Alias Nardo said.

The activity was also attended by Sangguniang Bayan Member Felipe O. Abigani who chairs the Peace and Order Committee. He expressed gladness over the decision of the people of Hinandayan to cut their ties with the communist rebels and support the government.

“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. Rest assured that the Local Government of Nasipit is always willing to help you. Magkahiusa kita, atong tabangan pud ang atong gobyerno para sa atong paglambo,” Abigani said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C Paulo, the Acting Commander of 23IB also thanked the residents for trusting and cooperating with the government’s efforts in ending the local communist armed conflict.

“I am glad that you already denounced the CPP-NPA Terrorists and withdrew your support from them. We appreciate the support you’ve given to us and we, together with different government agencies, will do our best to bring basic services you most need,” Paulo said.

He added that the 23IB trooper will continue to help the residents of Hinandayan address the primary problems and issues in their community.

“We serve and protect the constituents who were once exploited and manipulated by the armed group. We are always willing to sacrifice in order to free the people from the chains that controlled them to do what is right,” Paulo said.

He emphasized that the Army and the police are partners of the people of Hinandayan in the pursuit of peace and 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 on the right path,” Paulo said.

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

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