BACOLOD CITY – Some 33 residents of Escalante City, Negros Occidental, who have been victims of extortion activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), have vowed to stop providing support to the communist terrorist group.
They made the pledge of commitment as they reaffirmed their full support to the programs of the government to end insurgency in northern Negros during the community awareness activity by the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) at the city’s New Administration Building in Barangay Balintawak on Sept. 17.
1st Lt. Dansan Camua, civil-military operations officer of the 79IB, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday that some of these people own businesses while some are farmers, who were forced to support the CPP-NPA.
“They gave from PHP1,000 to PHP50,000 depending on their financial capability,” he added.
Camua said their names were listed on certain documents recovered by government troops after their encounters with the NPA rebels in Barangay Malasibog in July and Barangay Kapitan Ramon, Silay City last month.
The documents showed that these people were supporting the communist terrorists from December 2020 to June 2021, he added.
During the community awareness activity, they were briefed on becoming productive, responsible, well-informed members of society, and serving as partners in addressing the insurgency issues.
Last May, about 25 business owners and proprietors in Escalante City also took a pledge of commitment not to help communist terrorists and reaffirmed their full support to the government programs to end the insurgency.
Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commanding officer of 79IB, said the recent initiative is a part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70 to counter the CPP-NPA’s recruitment and extortion in the city.
Duterte signed EO 70 in December 2018, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives.
“We will continue to do our tasks and joint endeavors inspired by the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ under EO 70 or the whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict. I encourage everyone to do their fair share of responsibility in resolving insurgency. Every sector of our society plays a vital role in this effort,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. urged his constituents to stop supporting the CPP-NPA and its allied organizations for peace and progress to thrive.
The 79IB initiated the gathering in collaboration with the Escalante City government, Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, and Philippine National Police-Special Action Force 6th Special Action Battalion 65th Special Action Company.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)