BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Communists were kept off the streets yesterday, 29 March 2023, ironically on their own red letter day as Negrenses took to the streets by the thousands, the Army said, to denounce the terrorism of the New People’s Army (NPA) for more than half a century.
In the island where the Left used to dominate the streets with protests during which anti-government slogans ring out loud and government flags are burnt, the 54th anniversary of the NPA seemed to have came and went without incident, hardly given notice.
March 29 marks the founding of the NPA, a guerrilla force styled by dead local Communist Party founder Jose Maria Sison to be like the People’s Liberation Army in China from which Sison drew his inspiration after the revolution led by Mao Tse Tung
Instead of street marches organized by so-called rights defenders and activist oeganizations, military- and anti-Communist council-supported demonstrations were held across the island, some in areas both historic and strategic for the CPP and the NPA that started rebuilding efforts in the 1990s after an ideological split rendered it severely weakened.
In Hinigaran town, where the CPP used to have front organizations among sugarworkers, former mass sympathizers openly renounced their their support to the CPP-NPA and slammed the “meaningless and selfish revolution” of the NPA, Second Lieutenant Mary Liza Joy De Guzman reported.
Hinigaran is 52 kilometers south and was ince directly under the Regional Urban-White Area Committee (RUWAC) a body of CPP urban operators based here.
RUWAC coordinates urban mass movement actions, including street rallies and demonstrations, and draws quick reaction forces or protesters from towns and cities in the south, including Hinigaran town.
De Guzman, civil military operations officer of the 62nd Infantry Battalion, reported the Hinigaran action had the theme “Condemning the 54 Years of Atrocities and Human Rights Violation of the CPP-NPA” initiated by the Hinigaran Task Force-ELCAC in collaboration with Local Government Operations Officer, Municipal and Barangay Officials, Living Spring Global Community Ministry Incorporated Church, 64th Special Action Company, 6th Special Action Battalion, Hinigaran Police Station, 2nd Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company, Bureau of Fire Protection, 32nd CMO Company, 3rdCMO Battalion, 62nd Infantry (Unifier) Battalion, and a former CPP-NPA underground mass base organization, now a government peace advocates and reorganized as Federation of Pilar Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Incorporated (FPARBI).
Symbolic actions highlighted the Hinigaran event that included a “walk for peace” a “panumpa sa kalinong (oath for peace),” release of white doves and the burning of the CPP flag.
A sinilar action was held in Toboso town in the north, a nwighbor of Calatrava where Communist guerrillas also admitted to kilking four civilians last year for “crimes against the people.”
Meanwhile, Camp Gerona, base of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade that commands four maneuver battalions in the fight against the rebels, issued a separate release, saying at least 3,500 Negrenses from the north, south, and central Negros, including former rebels, participated in the island-wide peace and indignation rallies conducted in the municipality of Toboso and Kabankalan City, both of Negros Occidental and Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental to highlight the NPA’s 54th Founding Anniversary on March 29, 2023.
The rest of the release from Captain Mervin Rosal reads in full:
The participants strongly denounced the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) during the activity.
The successive rallies were initiated and facilitated by Local Government Units, Civil Society Organizations, People’s Organizations, Farmers, progressive groups, youth sectors, religious sectors, and the local populace.
It was supported by the Philippine Army units in Negros headed by the 303rd Infantry Brigade under the strong leadership of Colonel Orlando D. Edralin PA, Brigade Commander; 79th Infantry Battalion in North Negros Area led by Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines, Battalion Commander; 62nd IB in Central Negros area led by Lt. Col. William Pesase Jr., Battalion Commander, and 94th Infantry Battalion in South-Central Negros area led by Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, Battalion Commander together with the Philippine National Police both in Occidental and Oriental and other force multipliers and uniformed agencies.
Earlier this week, the 79IB facilitated a Peace and Condemnation Rally with more than 100 residents of Barangay Bug-ang, Toboso, Negros Occidental composed of habal-habal drivers and store owners, together with their local officials and stakeholders held at the Covered Gymnasium of Barangay Bug-ang, Toboso, Negros Occidental on Ma