107 NPA supporters in S. Leyte pledge allegiance to gov't

Published November 12, 2021, 10:44 AM

by Marie Tonette Marticio

TACLOBAN CITY – At total of 107 mass supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) took their oath of allegiance to the government and withdrew their support for the armed struggle.

They voluntarily presented themselves to the Municipal Task Force (MTF) ELCAC of San Juan, Southern Leyte, and the 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion.

They came from Barangay Somoje, which is considered a Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA) and a guerrilla base since the 1980s.

The mass supporters were organized as the rebels’ mass base that supported their activities and served as their haven when they evaded operating government forces.

As mass supporters, most of the residents in the barangay served as contacts and couriers and provided and facilitated the procurement and delivery of supplies, food, and medicines to the terrorist group.

They also acted as the eyes and ears of the NPAs by monitoring the presence of government forces in the area and identifying possible targets for recruitment.

Felix Bungcaras, the village chair, recalled that armed NPAs stayed in their barangay where they collected rice from each family which took turns in cooking food for them because there were no government forces in the area at that time.

The main reason why they severed their ties with the terrorist group is they have seen the programs of the Task Force ELCAC that address the concerns of the people even in remote areas such as the Serbisyo Caravan.

Discrimination has also prompted the people to surface in the open and become members of the Southern Leyte Tandaya Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association.

He further stated that being a mass base barangay, the people of Somoje are branded as NPAs and supporters by other people until now.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Dela Rosa Jr, Commanding Officer of the 14IB, said that the cutting of ties of the former CPP-NPA-NDF mass supporters delivers a strong message that they will no longer support the terrorist group and begged them not to disturb the peace and tranquility now being enjoyed by the community.

Brig. Gen Zosimo Oliveros, commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, expects that more members and mass supporters will surrender with the continued efforts of the different Task Force of ELCAC in the province of Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Biliran.

“The genuine commitment, cooperation, and collaboration of all the agencies of the government and the community would eventually lead to the success in ending the more than five decades of local communist armed conflict,” he said.