Friday, December 25, 2020

918 villagers of Agnor town decry CPP-NPA-NDF; pledge loyalty to government

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A total of 918 villagers from Barangay Durian, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte simultaneously denounced the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and its political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF) during the mass surrender and oath of allegiance to the government activity conducted last December 11, 2020, in the said barangay.

During the said activity which was spearheaded by the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Las Nieves, the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte, and the Barangay Council of Durian, twenty-eight (28) members of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) surrendered to the Government and eight hundred ninety (890) Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) withdrew their support to the CNTs and the terroristic activities of the NPA which is seen as the root cause of underdevelopment and the suffering of the people in Barangay Durian.

They also voluntarily handed over three (3) caliber 22 rifles, three (3) caliber 357 revolvers, one (1) caliber .38 revolver, one (1) home-made .357 revolver, four (4) home-made shotguns, and one (1) power generator.

With one voice, the nine hundred eighteen (918) villagers decried the years of exploitations, manipulations, and other terroristic activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF in their village. They also formally withdrew their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF and vowed to support the initiatives and interventions of the government that will finally bring peace and development in their barangays. They further asserted their right to protect their village from the CPP-NPA-NDF, including from the groups and individuals that continue to espouse the inutile ideology of the communist rebels.

An elder from Barangay Durian, whom the former MB members and UGMO supporters call Alias “Tatay” testified that he was only forced to join the armed movement because of a certain “debt of gratitude” from the CPP-NPA members who claimed that they are the reason why people can live and survive in their barangay.

“Nagsugod ang NPA diri sa tuig 2006. Mi ingong sila nga kung wala pa kunoy NPA dili mi mangabot diring lugara. Nagsigi kog paminaw, sigeg apil sa ilang seminar hangtud gisangunan mi og mga katungdanan. Sa diha nga naa na kami mga katungdanan, daghan na silag sugo, ug gani nagpasaka ko diri ug lima ka AK-47 nga armas gikan sa Magsaysay Misamis Oriental nga tulay kay gisugo ko nila. Gisugo pud ko nila pagkuha og 45 kalibre nga pistola sa Cagayan de Oro kay nag sunod lang ko sa ilang mando kay matod pa nila nga dili man daw mi makapuyo diri kung dili tungod sa NPA. Nagsugod na pud sila og pangpatay sa mga mosupak sa ila. Gikan sa 2006 taman 2014 gikuhaan ko nila og daruhan kay kuno agalon ko nga yutaan sa Maasin. Ang gitugot sa NPA tulo ra ka ektarya, isa ka bubong busa naglalis mi sa kumander. Ingon ko nga mao nay ihatag ninyo looy ang mga tawo, dili mabuhi sa tulo ka ektarya kay miabot gud ang trabaho ato sa maisan ug kapihan nga 20 ka ektarya. Mao to gisugonsugon nila ang mga NPA og giimbestigahan ko, dayon gi kompiska nila ang daruhan og giprenda og dosyentos singkwentay uno mil (PHP251,000). Maayo gani kay karon nga naa nay mga sundalo, kalooy sa Ginoo gihinay-hinayan nakog lukat sa tag-iya. Ug mopadayon tag suporta sa NPA mao ra man gihapon mahadlok ta nga patyon sa NPA. Ang gobyerno karon, gumikan sa giaprobahan nga Anti-Terrorism Bill, dili nata makagawas kung mapamatud-an nga ga suporta ta sa pikas grupo. Busa maayong buhaton nga mobalik na sa sabakan sa balaod kay sila ang tinuod nga nagpakabana sa ato,” Tatay said.

Another surrenderer, a member of the Indigenous People (IP) in Barangay Durian who asked not to be identified for security reasons also made testimony about the painful experiences he had with the CPP-NPA.

“Sa una nag mugna ang mga NPA og usa ka asosasyon para sa mga mag-uuma. Gihatagan ko nila ug katungod isip mangulo sa mga mag-uuma. Ilang pasalig nga molambo ang mga mag-uuma busa nagbuhat mi og kapunongan nga mao ang association sa mag-uuma pero wala nako pugsa ang mga tawo nga dili mo uban kay nasayod ko nga ang mga tawo nahadlok lang kay kung dili sila motuman sa sugo sa mga NPA, patyon man dayon sila. Mao na nga ako, naningkamot ko nga malingkawas sa mga pagpangilad ug mga pagpangsugo sa mga NPA nga dili makatarunganon og ilang ipaglaban sa gobyerno. Karon among nakita nga gipangga mi sa gobyerno ug mao nga naa mi karon nagpataas sa among mga kamot ug nanumpa sa dakong pagsurrender nga gipasalig namo nga dili na mi mo suporta sa NPA kay daghan nag gipangpatay nga akong mga kadugo. Isip usa ka tribo gipang patay sila sa mga NPA aron kami mahadlok og moubos ang among moral nga dili na mi magpadayon nga mag alagad sa gobyerno ug musonod mi sa ilang mga sugo. Karon akong ihatag ang tibook nga suporta ngadto sa atong gobyerno dili kay lawas lamang ang akong gisurrender kundili apil ang akong kasing-kasing gisurrender nako sa atong gobyerno tungod kay nakita nako nga ang akong kaliwatan nga sumusunod maabot ang panahon nga sila ang mabiktima niini kung kami nga mga ginikanan dili magpasunod kanila kung unsa ang among baruganan diha mi sa gobyerno karon,” he said.

The mass surrender and oath of allegiance activity were graced by Las Nieves Mayor Avelina S Rosales, Agusan del Norte Board Member Dick Victor Carmona, Lt. Col, Quintin T. Casabar Jr, the force commander of the 1st Agusan del Norte Provincial Mobile Force Company, and Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23rd Infantry Battalion.

Board Member Carmona who represented Gov. Dale Corvera expressed gladness over the decision of the residents to abandon the communist movement and go back to the fold of the law.

“We are very happy to see men and women, young and not so young who recognized the sincerity of this government proposing a better and peaceful beginning. We do respect that all men and women can have different ideologies but we also believe that we can always preserve arguments and represents without the exchange of bullets, " Board Member Carmona said.

She added that the Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte is glad to see that the villagers are supporting the government.

"We don’t need to argue. it is not necessary to use bullets and lose precious lives. You are so lucky that we have a very approachable government that will help you anytime. We just want to emphasize that when you support the LGU of Las Nieves, true development will be achieved. Your support inspires us to work harder. Let us help each other to work for peace so that we can feel the real development in our barangay. Through the Executive Order 70 program of our government, we woke up, we saw and we feel all the programs of the government that was poured to us. You were once deceived by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) but our government is here, always willing to help you because the government is the only one who can render genuine services. Let us also encourage the remnants of the CNTs that we have a real government who is always ready to help and bring true services to its people,” Carmona said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Paulo was also glad for the people of Barangay Durian who finally stood up against the CPP-NPA-NDF. 

“After a couple of years of being manipulated by the CNTs, you got nothing in return, there is never even a transformation in your lives. They only deceived, manipulated, and exploited you using their false ideologies. They are utilizing ordinary people to conduct extortion, carry their food supplies, making you leave your families behind, but the truth is, the CNT leaders were the ones who enjoyed your services. They only used their so-called ideology for their personal interest and even used it as a business which was only benefited by their families,” Paulo said.

The 23rd IB Commander also emphasized that the decision of the people of Durian to cut ties with the CPP-NPA-NDF is not late but the best decision they made in their lives.

“Your decision today is the best decision you had for your entire life because through this, you will experience true development that you never encountered before. We support the campaign of our President Rodrigo R. Duterte in ending insurgency before his term ends,” Paulo said.

He also urged the residents to report to the 23rd IB the presence of the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF in their barangay.

“Do not allow them to use you again. Let us help hand in hand to prevent the CNTs from entering your barangay who only destroyed the peace and order that you built. Now that Christmas is fast approaching, live peacefully with your families,” Paulo said.

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

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