CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — As Filipinos celebrate last Friday, 12 June 2020 the 122nd commemoration of Philippine Independence, seven full-time members, and seven candidate party members formally withdrew their affiliation from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

The former CPP members were formally received last Wednesday (17 June 2020) to mainstream society by ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in simple rites at Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna.

Colonel Alex Rillera, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over CALABARZON, said that “the former rebels’ act of turning over five firearms with live ammunition to the security forces is a tangible proof of their sincerity and desire to turn their backs from armed struggle as a means to achieve the reforms that they hope for our country and people.”

Col Rillera expressed optimism that the local peace engagements which paved the way for the surrender will continue to gain traction in the region while commending “the government negotiating team’s previous headways such as the mass surrender of 40 NPAs last March 29 during the terrorist group’s 51st Anniversary.”

Police Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr., Director of Police Regional Office 4A, identified the surrenderees as alias Sony, alias Jay, alias Sixto, alias Onyok, alias Czar, alias Joni, alias Mundo, alias Lolo, alias Daniel, alias Laki, alias Ato, alias Itak, alias Tsix and alias Jhong.

P/BGen Danao added that “two of them were ranking members of Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s armed group who, together with the other 12, were also key players in the enemy of the state’s white area operations.”

Per the government security forces’ records, the former party members were recruited through the different labor unions of various companies located in Laguna’s industrial zone and have already performed their “TOD” or immersion with the CPP’s armed group in the hinterlands of Region 4A.

Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., Commander of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, has already ordered his staff to begin the enrollment procedure of the former rebels to the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP which include debriefing and DSWD profiling.

He said that “this withdrawal of party membership is more painful for the underground movement since what they are losing are not just plain fighters whom they can just leave behind in combat but, rather, these are hard core organizers and thinking cadres who facilitate logistics and financial support from the urban centers to the hinterlands.”

Maj Gen Burgos has always attributed the police and military’s accomplishments to the commitment and dedication of the member agencies of CALABARZON’s Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or RTF ELCAC.

“The accomplishments against insurgency that we have recorded in this part of the country is a testament to the people’s yearning and aspirations for peace, prosperity and development which shall overcome gargantuan challenges, including the threat of Covid-19 pandemic which we are simultaneously fighting”, Maj Gen Burgos said.

He ended his statement by calling on the few remaining NPA terrorists to “follow the lead of your fourteen former comrades and return to mainstream society while you still can because we are now on the process of realigning our forces and rationalizing our military might so that your ranks will be decimated and Southern Tagalog may be liberated from the clutches of terrorism.”

The identity of the 14 former party members of the Communist Party of the Philippines was withheld as part of security protocol against possible offensive actions by the NPA terrorists against heir former comrades. (ia/SPH)