Friday, June 26, 2020

48 ex-NPAs in Caraga pledge loyalty to government

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 26, 2020): 48 ex-NPAs in Caraga pledge loyalty to government (By Alexander Lopez)

WITHDRAWAL OF SUPPORT. Forty-eight former communist New People’s Army rebels signify their withdrawal of support to the communist movement by pledging loyalty to the government in a ceremony held at the headquarters of Police Regional Office Caraga on Friday (June 26, 2020). The former rebels also burned the NPA flag. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

The Police Regional Office in Caraga Region (PRO-13) spearheaded the signing of manifesto and withdrawal of support of 48 former members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) here on Friday (June 26).

The activity was led by PRO-13 director, Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr. together with Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera and Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Maria Angelica Amante-Matba.

Of the 48 former rebels who surrendered to PRO-13 this year, 42 were from Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A that covers the areas of Agusan del Norte, Butuan City, and Gingoog City; while six were from the Guerrilla Front (GF) 88 covering the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon.

Esquivel lauded the 48 former rebels for deciding to leave the communist movement and join back their families and communities.

“This is a celebration because our brothers and sisters who were once deceived by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) are now with us in the government,” Esquivel said.

The signing of the manifesto and the declaration of withdrawal, he added, manifest that the 48 former rebels will no longer go back to the communist movement, but instead go home to their families and communities.

Esquivel also pointed out that the government is now winning the war against the NPA as shown by the growing number of rebels going back into the folds of the law.

Right track

“You are on the right track now,” Esquivel told the former rebels, as he assured them that PRO-13 is working in the processing of documents for them to avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

During the activity, Gov. Corvera led the reading of the pledge of withdrawal of support by the former rebels from the communist movement.

Corvera called on the former rebels to "be true to their pledge" as they renew their lives with their families and communities.

“This rebellion has been here for the last 51 years. This rebellion is rooted in an ideology that nowadays is no longer followed by the NPA rebels. The situation of the country 50 years ago compared now is no longer the same,” Corvera said.

He added that the NPA leadership today is no longer involved in a revolution but pure business that benefits not the entire membership of the movement.

For her part, Amante-Matba criticized the NPA leaders for using ordinary civilians "in their war against the government".

REJECTING THE NPA MOVEMENT. Former members of the communist New People’s Army join in the symbolic burning of the CPP-NPA flags during the signing of withdrawal of support on Friday (June 26, 2020) held at the headquarters of the Police Regional Office Caraga in Butuan City. The former rebels also pledged allegiance to the government. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

Nothing changed

“For years of being with the NPA movement, some have already died. But one thing is certain: that nothing has changed in your lives as promised by the leaders of the rebels. The majority of you remain poor while your leaders are the ones who benefited from this movement,” the lawmaker said.

Some of the NPA combatants killed in the hinterlands were even denied of proper burial because their leaders hid their graves, she added.

“Those who recruited you are now enjoying better living with their families secured in terms of food, support, and education with concrete houses and vehicles,” Matba said.

She also assured the former rebels of her support, especially in terms of livelihood assistance.

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