Disgruntled NPA supporters in Davao Oro condemn rebel atrocities

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DAVAO CITY–At least 150 disgruntled supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Davao de Oro condemned the rebel movement for various atrocities, the military said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Army’s 10th Infantry Division (10ID) said that the former CPP-NPA-NDF supporters used to be members of the communist rebel movement’s “underground mass organization” or UGMO from two villages in Laak town, Davao de Oro, who decided to “break free” from the guerillas.

The 10ID said the former UGMO members were “fed up with the violations” of the communist rebels in their villages, accusing the guerillas of “killing of their children, robbery, arson, the recruitment of minors,” and other atrocities.

Major Jerry Lamosao, 10ID public affairs officer, said the former NPA supporters held a “march for peace” in Laak town on Sunday (June 28), and adopted a resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata in the area.

“As they marched, they shouted out loud: ‘Ibagsak ang komunista, mabuhay ang demokrasya,'” Lamosao said, adding the former NPA supporters also carried placards containing invectives against the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Lamosao said the military won back the former NPA supporters through the community support program of the Army’s 60 Infantry Battalion based in the area.

He said the former UGMO members underwent a three-day live-in seminar with the military as part of a program for former NPA supporters.

During Sunday’s event, former UGMO member Maria Tapilot was quoted by 10ID as relating her experience after her husband was murdered by communist rebels.

“I call on everyone not to be fooled by the NPA terrorists,” Tapilot was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Laak Mayor Antonio Libuangan was also quoted as saying he “felt sorry for the loss” brought about by the “NPA’s crimes”.

“But now, as more and more NPA terrorists and UGMO members surrendered to the government while others were killed in the encounter, our municipality is third in the province as the most peaceful. I am glad that you have surrendered and revitalized with the help of 60IB. I hope all government agencies will help you to deliver justice and give you ample livelihood. I pray that no one in our town will starve and everyone will have a decent job, ” Libuangan was quoted as saying.

Davao de Oro 2nd District Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga who also attended Sunday’s march expressed support to the former UGMO members’ decision to abandon the rebel movement.

“As much as I can and the program my office can deliver to you, I will. All of you who are here present, I will help you get a job that is in accordance with the mandate set in my office,” Gonzaga said.

Major General Reuben Basiao, 10ID commander who also graced the activity, told the former UGMO and NPA members that government forces will continue their “work and sacrifice” to convince the remaining rebels to yield and renew their lives with their families.

“I am pleased with your decision in returning to the folds of the government. In maintaining peace and promoting prosperity in your area, it cannot be achieved by the Army alone. You are the center and most important part of the program so our government officials, agencies from local to national are here,” Basiao said.

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

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