KABANKALAN CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Chants of “yes to peace” rang out in major streets in this southern Negros Occidental city early in the morning today, 21 September 2023.
This day, which marks the 1972 declaration of Martial Law by then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr, is ironically a red letter day traditionally dominated by the Left with protest actions.
The day and place could never be more ironic.
Kabankalan, the major city in the south is part of the province’s Sixth District also known as the CHICKS area, an acronym for Cauayan, Hinobaan, Isabela, Cauayan – the four towns comprising the district – and Kabankalan and Sipalay – the two cities in the district.
The Sixth District was once a stronghold of the rebels.
In its hinterlands like in the sub-village of Omas in Camindangan village, the New People’s Army used to train its fighters and hold plenums or conferences in this area once codenamed “Emporium” by the rebels.
Today, however, former Communist cadres and Red fighters joined peasants, fisherfolk and other Negros folk in a march for peace joined by hundreds around major streets here.
The mayor here, former soldier Benjie Miranda and Army officials led by 303rd Brigade chief, Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, joined the marchers who chanted, among others, “yes to peace!” and CPP-NPA-NDF Ibagsak! (Bring down the CPP-NPA-NDF!)”
Many of them held up placards with slogans like “Maghugpong Para sa Kalinong (Unite for Peace” and “Kalinong Obligasyon sang Pumuluyo (Peace, An Obligation of the People).”
Ka Baldo (not his real name) told DNX the decades he spent with the Communists as an organizer among the fisherfolk in northern Negros has proven to him that the CPP is not serious in its claims of solving the people’s problems.
Instead, it only wants to deceive people to support or join its armed struggle that has only led to more misery and hardships for poor Negrosanons.