Southern Negros villagers declare Reds as 'persona non grata'
By Nanette Guadalquiver / Philippine News Agency
BACOLOD CITY – At least 100 residents of Barangay Caliling, Cauayan town in southern Negros Occidental have declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), as "persona non grata" in a gathering held at the village gymnasium on Saturday.
The participants, who are members of the Bahay Patol Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (B-PARC), took part in the 'pulong-pulong' (meeting) themed “Sama-samang Mamamayan, Terorismo’y Wakasan, Tungo sa Kaunlaran para sa Bayan” facilitated by the Philippine Army’s 14th Civil-Military Operations Battalion (CMOB) Community Support Program Team.
Lt. Col. Arturo Dumalagan, commanding officer of the 14CMOB, told the Philippine News Agency on Sunday that the pledge of those present to withdraw support from the communist-terrorist group is a bold step toward ending insurgency and attaining lasting peace and sustainable development in the community.
During the activity, the participants denounced the atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA as expressed in the placards they carried during a march, and also took an oath of allegiance to the government.
The pledge was followed by the ceremonial signing of a barangay resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata, and condemning the communist-terrorist group’s violation of human rights, killings, and recruitment of minors, among other unlawful activities.
The rites were highlighted by the burning of CPP-NPA flags to symbolize denouncement of the group’s terroristic activities.
Earlier, while the troops were conducting assessment in the village, Dumalagan said the B-PARC officers and members reported their presence to the police.
“We are your soldiers, not enemies. Why would you ask the police, our fellow government forces, to record our presence in the blotter report? We are here to help you,” he told them.
The B-PARC, which has 438 members, has been in existence for almost 30 years.
Officials who witnessed the activity included Caliling village chief Josel Popioco, Cauayan Councilor Angelica Sarmiento, human resource officer Noel Gayanilo, B-PARC chairperson Jonah Caceres, as well as representatives from the Cauayan Municipal Police Station, 15th Infantry Battalion, and Department of Agrarian Reform.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Earlier this month, the NDF has also been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism Council. (PNA)