NoCot folks welcome ‘persona non grata’ declaration vs. NPA

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KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato — Residents and officials in this province welcomed the decision of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in declaring the New People’s Army (NPA) as “persona non grata.”

Charlie Segucal, chairperson of Barangay Kabalantian in nearby Arakan town, spearheaded a peace rally last weekend denouncing the atrocities of the NPA following the PPOC declaration.

A PPOC resolution approved Friday (April 12) declared the NPA as “persona non grata” or unacceptable in this province.

Segucal also led the other officials of Kabalantian in declaring the NPA as “persona non grata” in the village, where the rebel movement had a strong influence for some time.

“But the time has come that their atrocities, including forcible taxation from ordinary farmers, must be stopped,” Segucal said of the NPA.

Segucal said the NPA rebels have killed “those who refuse to provide them food or rice as they roam around the community at night.”

He lauded the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion for giving his fellow villagers “enlightenment about the rebels’ ill motives and the government’s program for the Filipino people in the countryside.”

Segundo Bautista, 50, who is into agribusiness in President Roxas town, this province, also hailed the PPOC declaration.

“It will give us some relief,” Bautista said, admitting that communist rebels have been mulcting them on a regular basis.

“We are in a difficult situation with that extortion,” he recalled citing “if we don’t give, we are subjected to harassment and all forms of threats.”

“Now the Army is in our midst, we the traders here expect improved business climate ahead,” Bautista added.

Ignacio Pedroso, a driver of a passenger jeep plying the Kidapawan City-Arakan Valley route, said the declaration was a welcome move.

“I am a victim of extortion by men claiming to be NPAs who demand money for food almost every time I pass by a portion of rebel-infested villages,” Pedroso said in vernacular.

“Sa kalisod sa kinabuhi karon unya naa pa’y mangotong dala panghadlok (Life is difficult now while others simply mulct us and threaten us),” he said.

Gov. Emmylou Mendoza expressed confidence the police and military stationed in this province will protect the people against NPA atrocities.

Mendoza urged her constituents to continue supporting the security sector by providing timely and accurate information to stop the NPAs from harming civilians.

Alberto Lavega, a farmer from M’lang town, shared the governor’s sentiment, saying: “No one will help protect North Cotabato but us Cotabatenios.” 

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.-PNA

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