MANILA – As proof of their sincerity to turn their back on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, some 150 former rebels from the province of Cagayan burned the CPP-NPA flag as they returned to the fold of the law.
Maj. Jekyll Julian Dulawan, officer-in-charge of the Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the event took place on Feb. 19 in Lal-lo, Cagayan.
He said 52 of the returnees were former members of the Militia ng Bayan (MB) from Barangay Masi, two from Barangay Bural, 18 from Barangay San Juan in Rizal, 16 from Barangay Balagan, and 21 from Barangay Calassitan, Sto. Niño.
A total of 19 rebel returnees were former members of the Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid (PKM), nine were former MAKIBAKA members, and 13 were from Kabataang Makabayan (KM).
“Bilang patunay ng kanilang pagbalik loob sa pamahalaan ay kanilang sinunog ang bandila ng teroristang CPP-NPA (As proof of their willingness to return to the fold of the law, they burned the flag of the terrorist group CPP-NPA),” Dulawan said.
A certain “Ka Fred”, a member of the Indigenous Peoples group “Agta” and one of the rebel returnees from Barangay San Juan, Rizal also called on the communist terrorist group (CTG) to stop harassing and using them and their community and just let them live in peace.
Ka Fred said they are peace-loving IP tribes and they want to be left alone, far from any threat of the CPP-NPA terrorists.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Cagayan, led by Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, also expressed support to its residents for openly denouncing the terrorist group CPP-NPA and not welcoming them in their barangays and the whole province.
The former rebels decided to break away from the CTG through the help of the 501st Infantry Brigade, the provincial government of Cagayan, and the Philippine National Police.
Government officials and agencies patiently do rounds of the barangays to explain to the residents the deceptive strategies of the CPP-NPA listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
During the information drive, some residents started sharing their personal experiences under the hands of the terrorist group.
They said the CPP-NPA has not helped them in any way and instead, the CTG just used and exploited them.
Col. Steve Crespillo, commander of the 501st Infantry Brigade, said the decision of the 150 former rebels to return to the fold of the law was a big help in addressing insurgency in the area.
“Sa tulong ng mga programa ng pamahalaan, sama-sama nating isulong ang pag-unlad sa inyong mga lugar. Tulong-tulong tayo sa pagkamit ng ating pangarap na maayos na pamumuhay at itaboy ang teroristang CPP-NPA papalayo mula sa ang inyong lugar (With the help of different government programs, together, let us push the development of your areas. Let us realize our dreams of a better life and denounce the CPP-NPA),” Crespillo said.
Meanwhile, the PNP assured that they will continue to give protection to those who have decided to leave the CPP-NPA and returned to the fold of the law. (PNA)