Northern Negros LGU, Army strengthen alliance for peace

By Nanette Guadalquiver

May 22, 2024, 7:49 pm

BACOLOD CITY – The municipality of Calatrava and the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Negros Occidental have strengthened their alliance for peace in the wake of the series of killings perpetrated by the New People's Army (NPA) in the northern Negros locality.

First Lt. Dan Carlo Samoza, civil-military operations officer of 79IB, said on Wednesday that Mayor Marilyn Era, who chairs the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), condemns the atrocities of the remnants of the NPA.

“This is a manifestation of the mayor’s sincerity of protecting her constituents in line with her mandate as the head of the municipality’s TF-ELCAC,” he told the Philippine News Agency.

This year alone, five persons were killed by NPA assailants in Calatrava, as admitted by the communist terrorist group in their public pronouncements; the latest was Alexander Alquizar, a village watchman of Barangay Lagaan, who was gunned down on April 20.

In a meeting at the municipal hall on May 20, Era expressed her condemnation as she also appealed for the remaining NPA rebels in Calatrava to surrender to the authorities.

“I personally condemn the killing incidents that happened in my municipality without a valid reason. I am pleading to my brothers on the other side to please come and join the government that is ready to help you,” the mayor said.

First Lt. Kenn Brian Adesas of the 79IB, Lt. Artus Escuadra of the Calatrava Municipal Police Station, and representatives of other government agencies attended the meeting to assure the NPA remnants of support for their reintegration to their respective communities once they decide to surrender.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, commander of 79IB, welcomed the mayor’s condemnation of the killings and her call on the communist rebels to surrender.

“This is a manifestation of our strong alliance towards the same goal and shared aspiration of making Calatrava a haven of peace and progress. We will remain steadfast in our commitment and support to the local government units to once and for all decimate this terror group,” he added. (PNA)