The city government here has declared support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the campaign to end the local communist armed conflict.
The declaration came days after military troops and police arrested 55 persons, including 13 minors, believed to have links to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in four simultaneous raids in three villages here.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who led an assembly held at the Old City Hall grounds recently, said everybody wants peace, and that he believes any conflict can be addressed when discussed in a peaceful manner.
Familiaran noted that earlier this year, the City Peace and Order Council passed a resolution declaring the CPP-NPA persona non grata.
“We are public servants and mandated to serve the people. All of us want peace,” he said.
Familiaran added that the search warrant operations that led to the arrest of suspected rebels were presumed to be legal with the presence of barangay officials and media practitioners, and if those arrested say otherwise, they should prove it in court.
Valladolid town Mayor Enrique Miravalles called on the young people to be cautious because they are being targeted for recruitment by communist rebels. “You should be vigilant to avoid being used for wrong ideology,” he added.
Miravalles, who is also president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) – Negros Occidental, said change does not start with the barrel of a gun.
“We should be responsible citizens and support the programs of the government. Change should start in us. On behalf of LMP-Negros Occidental, I declare our support to the AFP and the PNP program to end local communist armed conflict,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, said through the assembly, the people of Bacolod showed that the CPP-NPA does not deserve the support of the public.
The communist-terrorist group continues to deceive the people and even uses children for their cause, he added.
“The people should support the government instead,” the army official said.
Among those who joined the rally were the parents of four minors who were rescued during the raid in the progressive groups’ compound in Barangay Bata on October 31.
“Ka Joros”, a former member of the NPA Northern Negros Front Special Partisan Unit (SPARU), also shared how the rebel front groups indoctrinate young people through cultural dance shows using revolutionary songs to entice them to join the rebel movement. (by Nanette Guadalquiver ndb via pna)