26 Northern Samar groups ‘join’ fight vs. NPA
By Sarwell Meniano / Philippine News Agency
TACLOBAN CITY – Some 26 groups in Northern Samar on Thursday took their formal pledge to help the government in the fight against the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
Group members joined the oath-taking ceremony at the provincial capitol grounds in Catarman, Northern Samar declaring their support to the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).
Northern Samar Governor Edwin Ongchuan welcomed the support of various groups since there is still a lot of help needed from the different sectors to end the decades-old armed struggle.
“We hope that you would help us be part of the preparations and, later on, spread the news of our programs, projects, and activities to more people of Northern Samar,” Ongchuan said during his inspirational message.
“Only when we are able to work together and help the people become part of our efforts will we achieve a just and lasting peace in our beloved province of Northern Samar," he added.
Among the advocacy support groups present were: Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo, provincial and Catarman chapters; Kaligkasan and Ka-upod Youth Alliance; Sinag ng Hilaga and Youth for Agricultural Revolution and Innovation; Youth for Peace; University of Eastern Philippines Council; Eco-Youth Movement; and Northern Samar police provincial office press corps.
Force multiplier groups that expressed their support were the Association of Chief Tanods; Kabalikat; Acess 5; and Barangay Peace-keeping Action Teams.
Other support groups who took their oath of support and signed their commitment to the ELCAC program are the Association of Information Technology Students of the Northern Samar Colleges; Baybay Fishermen Association; tricycle drivers group; Baybay Solo Parents Association, persons with disabilities federation; LGBT organization; Catarman pedicab drivers; Road and Mountain Bike Club of Pambujan; Cycloholic Cyclists Club; RHYES Cycling Group; Sniper Club 150 Team Northern Samar; and the Earth Savers Media Riders Individual Organization.
The formation of the local task force ELCAC operationalizes Executive Order No. 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018. The directive also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in ending the NPA’s 50-year armed rebellion.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Of the three provinces in Samar Island, Northern Samar is considered as the hotbed of the communist terrorist group due to its thick forest and poor road networks.
High incidence of poverty makes people in upland communities vulnerable to the NPA's persuasion. (PNA)