By Ali G. Macabalang
Buoyed by the Duterte administration’s disclosures of alleged deceitful acts by leftist ideologues and combatants, residents belonging to indigenous tribes (IP) in nearby Esparanza, Sultan Kudarat have staged an indignation rally voicing out the ill-effects of New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents in their midst.
Dozens of mostly IP residents took to the streets along barangays Salumping and Legodon of Esperanza town their grievances against atrocities by NPA rebels in their communities on February 13, 2021 and converged at the covered court of the latter village, the Army’s 6th Infantry “(Kampilan) Division said in a statement Monday.
The chairmen of the two villages led their Manono-Dulangan constituents in staging the mass action coordinated by the Sultan Kudarat provincial government, the officidom of Esperanza, local workers of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP, and the 7th Infantry Battalion, said the 6ID statement copy-furnished with the Philippine Muslim Today news.
Intensified military backing has encouraged the Manobo-Dulangan tribal community to openly denounce NPA subtle infiltration into their villages, according to Lt. Col. Rommel Valencia, 7th IB commanding officer.
“It is our mandate to protect your community. Let us work hand-in-hand to achieve peaceful community and we will further synergize our efforts together with the local government units and agencies to build a resilient IP community, free from the influence of CTG (communist terror group).”
Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, 601st Infantry Brigade commander, lauded the convergent rally, which he said should spark public denouncement of continuous exploitation, deception and recruitment of the NPA terrorists among innocent villagers.
For Major General Juvymax R. Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Infantry Division, the peace rally by vulnerable people had just fleshed out the administration’s campaign to abate communist insurgency after NPA and its communist political party breached past state gestures for peaceful dialogs.
“The hope of the nation is our youth. So let’s not let their dreams in life be hindered because of the recruitment of communist terrorist group”, Maj. Gen. Uy was quoted as saying in the statement.
The Feb. 13 rally was highlighted by the participants burning CTG flag and effigies, said statement coupled with some photos of the event.
Last December 28, North Cotabato police elements led by Provincial Director Col. Henry Villar led civilian volunteers in staging a similar indignation rally at Barangay Amas in Kidapawan City, and burned NPA effigies including photos of National Democratic Front Chairman Jose Ma. Sison. AGM