BACOLOD CITY – A group of farm workers and other villagers in Barangay E. Lopez, Silay City, Negros Occidental burned the communist-terrorist flags and pledged allegiance to the government in rites held at the village covered court on Saturday.
During the event, the villagers also denounced the atrocities and lies of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), in the presence of Mayor Mark Golez and officials of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police.
In a statement on Sunday, Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commanding officer of the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion, commended the move of residents in condemning the acts of communist-terrorist groups (CTGs) and their allied organizations.
“This clearly shows that the peace-loving residents of E. Lopez can no longer endure the suffering. Their pledge to withdraw their support from the armed group is a bold step towards ending insurgency,” he said.
About 250 individuals, most of them members of Hacienda Culahao-C Farmer Workers Association (HACUFWA) and Hacienda Nenita Farmer Workers Association (HANFAWA), took their oath of allegiance to the Philippine government before village chief Meriam Gallego.
HACUFWA chairman Arnilo Serquillos said the Community Support Program (CSP) team of the Army and the police assisted them in registering their association with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
“We have long wanted to register, but the organizer just asked money from us, and it never happened. That’s why we were not able to avail of government programs. Through the help of the CSP team, we were finally able to register with the DOLE,” he added.
During the activity initiated by the 32nd Civil-Military Operations Battalion and the 1st Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company (NOCPMFC), the participants signed the resolution of the Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (BTF-ELCAC) condemning and declaring as persona non grata groups aiding communist-terrorists in committing terroristic and criminal acts that violate the people’s rights.
They also raised placards calling for an end to the terrorists’ activities, including harassments and recruitment of minors.
Javines, who was joined by Maj. Fernando Somblingo Jr., officer-in-charge of 1st NOCPMFC; and Lt. Col. Robert Petate, chief of Silay City Police Station, during the event, urged residents of E. Lopez to work with the Army and police as well as with the local government unit and other government agencies to “put an end to the decades-long ruthlessness of the CPP-NPA”.
The activity was also attended by former rebel “Ka Joross”, who shared his experience in the armed struggle and how his life changed for the better after he surrendered.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
In June, its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council. (PNA)