Lt. Col. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), said more than 150 members of Unyon ng Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN), an organization in Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City, denounced their support to the new People’s Army (NPA) during a peace consultation dialogue in Butuan City.
Balagtey said UMAN is one of the mass-based organizations used by the CPP-NPA to recruit farmers as its source of manpower, finance, and logistics.
“Members are being made to pay dues with a promise to give them the lands that they are tilling,” Balagtey added.
Meanwhile, around 396 NPA members and supporters yielded to the Army's 30th Infantry Battalion in Surigao del Norte town of Malimono last Thursday, Balagtey said.
Balagtey said the surrenderers also yielded 11 assorted firearms to 30IB, led by Lt. Col Allen Tomas.
Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., Eastmincom commander, called on NPA supporters in the villages to reject the rebels.
"The purpose of the communists’ front organization is to agitate people of false issues against the government and then organize them to openly protest and destroy the system of governance and create chaos," Santos said.
Santos said he has directed all military units within Eastmincom jurisdiction to "continue reaching out to the groups to address the armed struggle strongly".
The NPA--the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines--is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.