At least 200 individuals recently gathered at the Freedom Park in Legazpi City to condemn through an indignation rally, the recent brutal killings staged by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).
Four members of 31st Infantry Battalion bound for a coordination meeting about a road project in Legazpi City were ambushed by communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) in Barangay Banquerohan, killing the three of them and wounding the other one.
On January 19, CTGs also harassed a community in Cabas-an, Aroroy, Masbate and mercilessly killed their Barangay Councilor and Tanod.
The barangay officials and residents of Banquerohan and Bariis of Legazpi City led the rally that was participated in by representatives of various government agencies, religious sectors, academe, youth organizations, and other members of uniformed services.
Former rebels took turns at the podium to express their solidarity.
Ka Bal said “Kami po ay nakikiisa sa indignation rally na ito para kondenahin ang karumal-dumal na pagpatay sa ating kasundaluhan, sa ating mga sibilyan at sa mga former rebels. Hindi po totoo ang sinasabi na ang surrenderees ay tinatakot at pinipilit ng gobyerno na sumuko. Buhay kaming patotoo na bukal sa aming loob ang pagsuko. Huwag po tayong matakot dahil ‘yon ang gusto nila upang magamit tayo laban sa gobyerno.”
Protesters crying for justice for all the victims of communist atrocities brought with them placards denouncing the terrorist group’s anti-people and anti-development attacks, especially the recruitment of their minor children.
“Huwag na po manlinlang ng mga kabataan. Sa kabataan sila kumukuha ng lakas at puwersa sa pakikipaglaban nila. Sa mga natitira ko pang mga kasamahan, huwag po kayong matakot na magbalik-loob. Walang ibang solusyon kundi makiisa tayo sa ating gobyerno,” Ka Jessa said.
In his response, the commander of Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB), Maj Gen Henry Robinson Jr PA, assured the Bicolanos of the government’s persistent efforts to wipe out communist insurgency in Bicol. Proof of this was the successful hot pursuit operations yesterday in Masbate where one CNT was killed while two high powered firearms, anti-personnel mines,medical paraphernalia, terroristic propaganda materials and personal belongings were captured.
Meanwhile last February 15, in Davao del Norte, twenty-one Lumad children who were brought to Cebu City for alleged revolutionary training as future New People’s Army (NPA) combatants, were rescued by authorities.
The children including 7 boys and 14 girls were reunited with their parents two years after they were “recruited” by community organizers in said province and brought to Cebu City to undergo armed revolutionary training.
Davao del Norte, combined elements of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7, PRO 11, Intelligence units, and Department of Social Worker and Development (DSWD) rescued the children from the University of San Carlos Retreat House Talamban Campus in Talamban, Cebu City, today.
The children’s parents and Manobo tribal leaders from Talaingod town witnessed the rescue operation.
Initial investigation revealed the Lumad children who were students of the communist front Salugpungan School in Talaingod town that was closed down by the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2019 were brought to Cebu City for alleged NPA training
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Debold Sinas in a statement said six persons who were found “teaching” the children were arrested by the authorities.
The parents of these children sought assistance from the provincial government of Davao Norte to locate their missing children for more than two years.
“The rescue operation is a manifestation that the communist terrorists have been continuously engaged in recruiting minors to be trained as child warriors which is a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law and child protection laws,” Sinas said.
Sinas assured the Manobo tribe of support from the government through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Some of the children victims told the Women’s Children’s and Protection Desk (WCPD) investigators that they underwent some form of warfare training while in the custody of their handlers.
Police are now preparing the filing of charges against the six arrested suspects for serious illegal detention, human trafficking, and violations of Republic Act 9851 (International Humanitarian Law) and RA 11188 (Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict).