PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. Forty-one former supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) from Bayambang town, Pangasinan. They denounced on Friday (Dec. 10, 2021) their support to the terrorist group and pledged allegiance to the national government anew. (Photo by Hilda Austria)

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan – Some 41 former supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) here denounced their support to the terrorist group, and pledged allegiance to the national government anew.
 
"Wala din kami napala. Wala din 'yong pinangako nilang lupa. Akala namin yong sinalihan namin ay party-list lang para sa election, di namin alam NPA na pala. Sinasama kami sa mga rally. Kami naman sumasama para makapasyal, libre pagkain at sasakyan pero walang pera (We got nothing out of it. The promised land to us was not fulfilled. We thought at first we just joined a party-list for the election, we didn't know they were part of NPA. They asked us to join rallies. We joined because of the free food and travel but they did not give us money)," said Jennie (not her real name), 62, in an interview on Friday. 
 
She said a party-list group recruited them along with other farmers from the town with a promise to give them lands way back in 2016. 
 
"We thank the national government for their effort to attain peace in the country," she added. 
 
Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) officer-in-charge Col. Richmond Tadina said the former supporters were part of the underground mass movement organizations (UGMO) in the province. 
 
"Since Pangasinan has been insurgency-free since 2019, there are no armed groups but there are still the UGMO who support the CPP-NPA although they are now denouncing their support," he said. 
 
As part of the whole-of-nation approach of the national government, the PPPO and the provincial government gave cash aid worth PHP5,000 to each of the former supporters as well as livelihood aid, seedlings, and other farm inputs. 
 
They will also be given training by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for water search and rescue and basic life support. 
 
Tadina said there are still more from Bayambang who will be denouncing their support to the terrorist group and will join the government from Bayambang town. 
 
"It's a good sign. Due to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), many are now denouncing support as they see that they are just being deceived. The national government is also addressing the problems at the grassroots level," he said. 
 
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.
 
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)