Community-based initiative attracts more rebel returnees: 8IB

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. Three former members of communist rebel organizations burn the flags of the Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front, and its armed wing, the New Peoples Army (NPA) during the ‘Grand Pulong’ on July 16 in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. The activity is part of the Army’s “Community Support Program, which aims to assist communities that have been rocked with armed conflicts brought about by the communist insurgency. (Photo courtesy of 8IB)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The Army’s “Community Support Program (CSP)” has attracted more combatants and sympathizers of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to defect and surrender to the government in Bukidnon province, an Army official said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Edgardo Talaroc Jr., commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB), said that through the CSP,  government agencies can attend to the concerns of rural communities.

Talaroc said CSP has integrated well with the government’s “whole-of-nation” approach in addressing communist local armed conflicts, including the recruitment and propaganda campaign of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the rebel movement’s armed wing–the NPA.

“As we burn the communist flags which symbolize their terroristic act, I hope that you have also burned your allegiances to the CTGs (Communist Terrorist Groups) likened to a flag that could not be restored. We have only one government whom we can run to and is always ready to help and protect you,” Talaroc told the 29 former members of the CPP-NDF-NPA’s party organs in Malaybalay City in a gathering on July 16.

During the activity, Talaroc said the former communist party members and mass-based sympathizers rekindled their allegiance to the government.

In a statement, 8IB quoted several former CPP-NDF-NPA members as saying they are “now aware of the deceptive scheme and evil tactics” of communist rebel-allied fronts and organizations.

“They also realized that they were just used for the benefit of these organizations, and yet they got nothing in return,” 8IB said, adding the former rebel sympathizers and members also expressed gratitude for the livelihood programs initiated under the Army’s CSP.

The CPP-NDF-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. 


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