Ex-mass supporters call for peace, denounce rebels

FORMER rebel supporters hold a rally in Toboso, Negros Occidental over the weekend. (79th IB Photo)

By: Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – At least 171 former mass supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) from different barangays in Toboso, Negros Occidental expressed their desire for lasting peace in the town and the whole island of Negros during a two-day peace building seminar over the weekend.

Holding placards, the former rebel supporters held a rally to express their collective sentiments and denounce the “presence, atrocities, and recruitment of the Communist-NPA-Terrorists (CNTs).”

They also burned the flag of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA to show their strong stand and condemnation of the CNTs and their “alleged deceptive and terroristic acts against the innocent lives of Negrenses.”

Meanwhile, former rebels discussed insurgency awareness during the seminar initiated by the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army, in partnership with the municipality government held at the Toboso National High School on July 27 to 28.

They were also enlightened by the resource speakers from different government agencies about the government’s actions, services, and development programs for them.

After the seminar, the former rebel supporters took their oath of allegiance before the Sangguniang Bayan officials.

Lieutenant Colonel Emelito Thaddeus Logan, 79th IB commander, commended the town officials for their sincerest support in the counter-insurgency campaign of the Army against the CNTs.

“The demonstration of the communities after the seminar is a manifestation that the people who were formerly victimized by the CNTs transforms through the effectiveness of the Army’s peace building initiatives which they decided for their support in the campaigns against terrorism and criminalities, as they were showing their courage in denouncing the atrocities, deceptions and recruitment perpetrated by said communist terrorist groups,” Logan said.

On July 1, the municipal government of Toboso highlighted their 71st Charter Day celebration and oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected officials, with the signing of Resolution No. 044 Series of 2019, declaring the CPP-NPA as persona non grata.

He said the Army’s Community Support Program (CSP) operations will continue in order for other insurgency affected and influenced local folks to be aware of the deceptive techniques of the CNTs.

“I also pray that this display of courage and bravery of the people of Toboso will encourage other local government units and their constituents in northern Negros to do the same and continue to support the peace initiatives of the government,” he added.