A total of 55 former guerrillas of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) have withdrawn their support for the communist movement and pledged their allegiance to the national government.
The withdrawal of support was made after the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) Region 3 Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKM) conducted a local peace and community consultation in Barangay Marikit, Casiguran town, this province on Friday.
During the event, the former CPP-NPA rebels, composed of 30 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and 25 former members of the Militia ng Bayan, burned the communist flag as proof of their sincerity to the government.
The community consultation meeting, with former rebels, their mass base supporters, military and police personnel, and representatives from concerned government agencies, aims to orient and increase awareness of Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, which institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
Maria Luisa F. De Guzman, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), thanked the former rebels as well as the residents condemning the CTGs and helping them to attain inclusive peace and development in Aurora.
“This is a result of our community consultation in promoting peace and stability in the province. This is part of our campaign against insurgency, together with the help of the Army’s 91st Infantry ‘Sinagtala’ Battalion, Aurora Police Provincial Office, and other concerned agencies. I thank all of you for helping the government in its fight against terrorism,” she said.
De Guzman urged the participants to form an organization to easily get assistance from the government.
“We will help you and address your needs. We urged you to organize and mobilize. Rest assured that the government will do its part to bring financial assistance and livelihood so that no one will come back with the CTGs,” she added.
Ret. Army Brig. Gen. Abraham Claro C. Casis, the official representative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), said the government has always been open to diplomatic communication for a peaceful resolution gearing toward ending any form of conflict that may trigger violence.
Col. Julio S. Lizardo, provincial director of the Aurora Police Provincial Office, thanked the former rebels for their trust in the government and for deciding to live peacefully with their loved ones.
Lt. Col. Julito B. Recto Jr., commander of 91st IB, likewise assured the former rebels of their safety, saying that “the Philippine Army troopers are here to protect you from any harm brought about by atrocities of the CPP-NPA.”
Meanwhile, Ka Baldo, a former commander, called on active NPA members to give up their fight before it is too late to reunite with their families.
“Hindi ko na mabuo ang aming pamilya. Kaya bilang dati ninyong kumander ako ay humihiling sa inyo na huwag ng lumaban sa gobyerno. Makipagtulungan po tayo sa kanila at magbagong buhay ng totoo. Mahalin natin ang ating pamilya upang hindi ito mawasak katulad ng nararanasan ko ngayon. Huwag maniwala sa mga panlilinlang ng NPA (I could no longer rebuild my family. So, as your former commander, I am asking you not to fight the government. Let us work with them and change their life for real. Let us love our family so that it would not be destroyed as I am experiencing now. Do not believe the deceptions of the NPA” the former rebel said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973.