Peace advocates call for justice for terrorism victims
By Liza Agoot / Philippine News Agency
BAGUIO CITY – The nationwide “Bike for Justice and Peace” lured thousands on Saturday in commemoration of the 40 days since collegiate football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin, Nolven, died through the terroristic acts of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The event organized by youth and civic organizations, with the support of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), is a call for justice for all the victims of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary and NTF Strategic Communications Cluster Chair Lorraine Badoy, who witnessed the event here, said it is also a reminder that no one is safe as long as terrorism exists.
The Absalon cousins were cycling with a group in Masbate City when anti-personnel mines exploded by the roadside and killed them on June 6.
They also bore gunshot wounds. The NPA later claimed responsibility for the twin deaths.
"Akala natin safe ang anak natin kapag di sila naloko at napasali sa makakaliwang grupo pero sina Kieth, hindi sila naloko. Nagba-bike lang sila pero nawalan sila ng buhay (We thought our children are safe if they are not recruited by the terrorists into their groups. Kieth and his cousin were just riding their bikes but they lost their lives)," Badoy said in an interview at the Baguio Convention Center. She said the story of Kieth is what the NTF-ELCAC wants to end -- lost lives and future stolen by the CPP-NPA.
"We are one in our rage for what has happened to Kieth and the many other young people who were victims, who were deceived and lost their lives," Badoy said.
The cycling event here was participated in by about 200. There were also around a hundred others who joined the zumba and yoga events at the Baguio Convention Center.
The event was capped by the recitation of the manifesto of support and call for justice for the victims of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The youngest signatory of the manifesto was 11-year-old Xianty Rayne Mariano. President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018, creating the NTF-ELCAC that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives. The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)