Forty former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Aurora province on Friday withdrew their support from the terrorist group and pledged allegiance to the national government.
The withdrawal of support was made after the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) conducted a community consultation in Barangay Borlongan, Dipaculao town to address the concerns of rebel returnees on peace and development issues.
During the event, the former rebels burned a CPP-NPA flag as proof of their sincerity to the government.
The community consultation meeting which was participated in by former rebels, their mass base supporters, military and police personnel, and representatives from concerned government agencies, aims to orient and increase awareness on Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, which institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
Maria Luisa F. De Guzman, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), said the consultation meeting is meant to address the root causes of insurgency, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats to inclusive development.
“We are going to the communities to bring the government closer to those like you so that you can feel the presence of the government and not to be deceived by the communist terrorist group,” De Guzman said during the event in Filipino.
She cited the importance of bringing the message of hope to the people of Aurora, particularly the former rebels who now have the same objective which is to finally put an end to the communist terrorism.
She said the concerned agencies are doing their best to harmonize peace, development, progress, security, and consequently resolve the nation’s over 50 years of insurgency problem.
Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Abraham Claro C. Casis, the official representative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), lauded all concerned government agencies for the success of the event.
“The support of everyone is a great help in addressing the root causes of local armed conflict by prioritizing the delivery of basic government services, social development packages, and construction of needed infrastructures with the end-in-view of ushering inclusive development in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda,” Casis said.
Col. Julio S. Lizardo, provincial director of the Aurora Police Provincial Office, underscored the importance of the partnership between the government and the citizenry towards peace and development.
He said the activity is an example of comprehensive peace engagement.