Residents of hinterland barangays in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, and Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, have condemned the New People’s Army operating in their communities, Lt. Col. Egberto Dacoscos, 62nd Infantry Battalion commander, said yesterday.
Dacoscos, who led a peace advocacy symposium yesterday jointly organized by the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades in Sitio Cambairan, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, where the NPA held its pre-anniversary celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines last month, said the activity was highlighted by an oathtaking of 500 residents who pledged to support for the government, and denounced the rebel atrocities, including the recruitment of minors.
Dacoscos cited the participation of 106 students residing in Brgy. Trinidad in Guihulngan City and Brgy. Macagahay, Moises Padilla, in the CPP pre-anniversary celebration, that was uploaded on YouTube.
He added that the minors stopped attending classes, after being threatened and misled by the NPAs who told them that the military and police forces are running after them because of their participation in the NPA activity.
Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, debunked such claims, and advised parents of the students to send them back to school, stressing that they have nothing to worry about.
Arevalo said the students are victims of NPA deception, and called on their parents not to allow their children to be exploited.
Ka JB Regalado, spokesperson of the NPA Leonardo Panaligan Command, issued a statement claiming that those attended in the military activity yesterday were forced to attend by the 62IB.
Using the beneficiaries of 4Ps program of the government, Regalado condemned what he called military deceptions and psywar activities.
During the symposium, Dacoscos said that Moises Padilla and Guihulngan residents expressed their willingness to pursue a barangay resolution declaring NPA leaders persona non grata.
He also said that attaining peace is not the concern only of the police and the Philippine Army, local government units should also actively take part in condemning atrocities and deceptions by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Last week, 120 chieftains and members of the indigenous people groups in northern Negros also condemned the NPA deception, atrocities, extortion and recruitment among their members.
With the IPs and parents expressing condemnation of the CPP-NPA, Arevalo urged other communities and local government units to also do the same.*
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