TACLOBAN CITY – More than 100 members of a progressive group organized by the New People’s Army (NPA) have formally abandoned the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) through a ceremony in Naval, Biliran on Wednesday.
After their disaffiliation from the People Surge Alliance, residents from seven towns in the province joined the Biliran Integrated Peace and Development Workers Federation (BIPDWF) to help sustain peace efforts in the province.
Many former members of the progressive group are from the towns of Culaba, Caibiran, Cabucgayan, Biliran, Naval, Almeria, and Kawayan.
In a statement on Thursday, the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade said the 100 Biliran residents will serve as leaders of the 8,000 former People Surge members who already joined BIPDWF.
Biliran Governor Rogelio Espina, chairman of the Biliran Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict inducted en masse into office the elected officers of the Biliran IPDWF at the Biliran Province State University campus.
Army’s 802nd IBde commander Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros thanked them for joining the fight against insurgency despite the challenges of movement restrictions.
“If we have been fighting the spread coronavirus, we have to stop also this ‘insurgency virus’ that has plagued the country in the past 53 years. There has been no armed encounter in Biliran, but the NPA used different tactics to deceive the people here,” Oliveros said.
People’s Surge, which was formed in Tacloban City in 2014, is said to be a group of Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors, who have been victims of “continuing government incompetence.”
“We have been asked to join rallies demanding assistance from the government. Their real intent is to destroy the government. Some of us are even asked to go up to the mountains and fight the government,” said Jonathan Corea, a former member of People Surge in Biliran.
The group also collected membership fees and some were transported to Tacloban City and Metro Manila to join anti-government demonstrations, according to Corea.
Witnessing the ceremony are key officials from the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, among others.
Residents declared their commitment of support for the newly organized BIPDWF as partners of the Biliran Provincial Task Force ELCAC in all the efforts of ending the local communist armed conflict in the province.
They also staged a brief peace rally to manifest their disgust on the People Surge and the CPP-NPA. They displayed placards denouncing the lies, deceptions, and atrocities of the communist terrorist group.
The CPP-NPA is also listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)