IP leaders IP declare NPA ‘persona non grata’

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DAVAO CITY (February 27)  –- Close to 600 leaders and members of the Ovu-Manobo tribe from the various villages of Southern Mindanao has declared the Communist New People’s Army ‘personan non grata.”

The different leaders and their followers agreed to declare the rebels “persona non grata or unwelcome” in their communities, in the recently concluded three-day seminar which was sponsored by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The tribal leaders said the rebels presence in their communities has resulted to social and economic unrest among the residents specially in the villages of Tambobong, in Davao City and and it’s neighbouring provices in the far-flung village of Tambobong, Baguio District, here declared the communist New People’s Army (NPA) as “persona non grata” in their ancestral lands.

The “persona non grata” declaration — literally meaning “unwelcome person” — came during Monday’s culmination activity of the three-day peace-building seminar was attended by 71 tribal leaders from Davao City, North Cotabato and Bukidnon.

Datu Joel Unad, chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders, said the three-day seminar also resulted in the passing of a joint barangay and tribal council resolution calling for the closure of an alleged NPA-supported school run by the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) in the area.

The chief of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Battalion has lauded the Ovu-Manobo tribe for “standing up” against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People Army (CPP-NPA), as he underscores the role of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the government’s campaign against communist insurgency.

Lt. Col. Oscar Partuza, 3IB commanding officer, lauded the outcome of the three-day peacebuilding seminar.

“It’s not the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines and PNP (Philippine National Police) alone that must address the issue on peace, security, and insurgency–it should be a whole nation approach wherein all stakeholders must take part in it,” Partuza in a report published by the Philippine News Agency said.

Partuza thanked Mayor Sara Duterte and the city government for supporting the peacebuilding seminar, and for the Ovu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Elders for organizing the activity.

First Lt. Marcelo Amora, civil-military operations officer of 3IB, said the seminar also became a venue for local officials and government agencies to be aware of the current security situation in the city’s upland villages.

Unad said the villagers were happy when they learned that 30 members of the Militia ng Bayan surrendered last week.

Militia ng Bayan is a mass-based support group of the NPA and its mother organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Unad is one of the pillars of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Council of Elders, the group which spearheaded the training,-Jiann A. Padillo/NewsLine.ph



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