Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Former mass base supporters of NPA attend peace rally: military

From the Mindanao Times (Jan 3): Former mass base supporters of NPA attend peace rally: military

A PEACE rally was initiated following the surrender of 290 former alleged members of the New People’s Army’s underground mass organization on Dec. 28-29 in Barangay Araibo, Pantukan town, Compostela Valley.

The group marched around the barangay with rallyists raising their slogans and placards that state, “No to Communism,” “No to ceasefire violation,” “Yes to Democracy,” “We Love Peace & Justice,” “No to Terrorism,” and other related messages.

Prior to the peace rally, the former members NPAs underwent a two-day debriefing by the 66th Infantry Battalion.

Lt. Col. Palmer Parungao, the commander of 66th IB, told TIMES that the activity was intended to “de-radicalize” the surrenderees and allow them to integrate back into society.

“This will totally bring them to the realization that causes themselves to be a part of the insurgency problem of our government,” Parungao said.

A series of lectures were given by the different sectors of the government to educate and inform them of the government plans and programs. Likewise, team-building activities were also conducted for the returnees to feel that they form a significant part of the community.

The military has accused the NPA of violating its own ceasefire by allegedly ransacking houses in Sitio Mabugnao, Barangay Las Arenas in Pantukan when they celebrated the CPP anniversary.

Parungao expressed his gratitude on the support extended by the local government of Pantukan through Mayor Roberto Yugo and other partner agencies for the success of the peace rally and the live-in seminar.

“This is not for us, but for our brothers and sisters in barangay Araibo of Pantukan,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Noel S Clement, commander of the 10ID, said that they appreciate “the peace initiatives of the local government and our units involved in pursuing peace.”

“With these former members of CPP-NPA-NDF conducting peace rally and the community as well, it is just a matter of time that all the people will come together and denounce NPA atrocities,” Clement said.

“We call on our citizens to unite against the anti-people NPA extortion gang disguised as a fake revolution,” he added.

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