Members of three farmers’ associations in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental have declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) persona non grata and condemned their atrocities in rites.
“If there’s no peace, there’s no progress and development. Don’t be fooled by the NPA and don’t allow them to destroy your lives. We want to end terrorism to achieve lasting peace because the future generation deserves it. We are here to call for peace,” Hinigaran Mayor Josie Nadie Arceo said in his message in rites held in Barangay Pilar gymnasium on Friday.
The ceremony, attended by municipal and barangay officials led by Arceo and village chief Benjamin Yulo, was participated by the Campi Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (CARBA), Pilar Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (PARBA), and Raming Farmworkers Association (RAFA).
During the program, the farmers took the oath for peace and oath of allegiance to the Philippine government before Yulo and Lt. Col. Melvin Flores, commander of the Philippine Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion, respectively.
A candle-lighting and a prayer was led by Pastor Hope Biasca of Trinity Baptist Church.
The chairmen of the three farmers’ groups, including Primitivo Rallos of CARBA, Dioscoro Andrino of PARBA, and Leida David of RAFA, gave their messages for peace, which was followed by the symbolic signing of the declaration of the CPP-NPA as persona non grata and burning of the flag with symbols of the CPP-NPA.
Arceo said his office is “always open” to hear the concerns of the farmers’ groups, adding the government is also willing to help them as shown in the presence of the officials and representatives of the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and other concerned agencies.
Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, commended the farmers’ groups and the local government of Hinigaran in jointly condemning the CPP-NPA.
“Continue to support the government in condemning the NPA atrocities, especially the recruitment of minors and the killing of innocent individuals. We are here because we don’t want the NPA to use the people of Hinigaran in their wrongdoings. We don’t want you to be the victims of their atrocities. Do not hesitate to report the presence of any armed group in your area,” he added.
Col. Romy Palgue, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, enjoined the farmers to defend their barangay, community, and their families from terrorism and illegal drugs.
“We should defend our community against insurgency. We should not back down. Let us all unite in this endeavor,” he added.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging the armed struggle for more than 50 years, has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.*