By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – More than 2,000 former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) are expected to yield during the three-day Northern Negros Peace Summit to commemorate the 34th year of the Escalante Massacre in Negros Occidental this week.
According to Captain Cenon Pancito III, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), these former rebels came from different towns in northern and central Negros.
The peace summit, which will be held from September 19 to 21, is a convergence of efforts from the local government units (LGUs) in northern Negros, academe, religious sector, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), police, former rebels, and other members of the society, which intends not only to commemorate the Escalante Massacre, but also to mark a new journey towards the attainment of everyone’s desired genuine peace and progress in this part of the province.
The activity will be highlighted by the following significant activities: medical mission for former rebels, candle lighting, commemorative mass, declaration of “Day of Commemoration”, tribute to the massacre victims, cultural activities, commemorative cultural play, statement of apology from government sectors and former rebels, acceptance from the victims, turnover of surrendered firearms, oath of allegiance, and dialogue, among others.
Kins of massacre victims will also attend the summit.
“This event is not about forgetting the Escalante massacre, but will serve as a peaceful venue for reconciliation of the aforementioned sectors, former rebels, and families of the massacre victims who agreed to move forward by working together to realize a common vision of a violence-free and progressive community,” Pancito said in a press release.
Also, the event aims to deliver an awakening message to the CPP-NPAs and their allies that the masses want to move on from the sorrows and miseries brought by their selfish and bloody armed struggle and embrace the brighter and harmonious tomorrow.
This year’s Escalante Massacre commemoration is themed “ESCAM 2019: Paghanduraw, Panag-uli ug Pagpadayon alang sa Tinu-od ug Malinawon nga Kalambuan.”
Meanwhile, Police Lieutenant Adrian Acollador, deputy provincial director for administration of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), said that policemen and military will implement tight security during the said activity to prevent possible threats to sabotage the activity.
Acollador said they have enough personnel to be deployed to secure the said activity.