Return to gov't fold, get vaxxed, Brawner urges CPP-NPA rebels
Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., commander of Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID photo)
CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – A military official on Sunday has offered coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination to Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) rebels returning to the government fold, after swab tests on some captured and a slain NPA rebel yielded positive results.
Maj. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., commander of Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said three of the 10 CPP-NPA terrorists, including one minor, captured in the Sept. 8 clash in the San Fernando, Bukidnon were Covid positive.
Another NPA rebel who was killed in an encounter in Talakag, Bukidnon on Sept. 9 also turned out positive of Covid-19.
In the Valencia City clash on Sept. 10, three of the four captured rebels, including two minors, yielded positive results on the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or swab tests.
“Many in the NPA ranks possibly have Covid-19 as evidenced by the positive test results of the captured and dead CNTs (communist New People’s Army terrorists). Nais ko pong ipaalam sa kanila na wala pong pinipili ang COVID-19, sundalo, kapulisan, mga kawani, simpleng mamamayan at maging mga myembro ng CPP-NPA-NDF ay tinatablan din ng nakakamatay na Covid-19 (Covid-19 infection chooses no one). We are willing to provide Covid-19 vaccines to the CTG [communist terrorist group] if they will decide to abandon the armed struggle and cooperate with us,” Brawner Jr. said.
He identified the Covid-19 positive NPA rebels captured in the San Fernando clash as alias Taburok, minor; alias Manman; and alias Daniel.
Captured rebels in the Valencia City clash with positive Covid-19 test results were identified as alias Anjie, and two minors alias Jayson and RK.
A wounded NPA rebel identified as alias Kib, who underwent a surgical operation on Sept. 11, also tested positive for the Delta variant.
Rebel-fatalities were immediately buried upon learning that some of them have tested positive on the Covid-19 test.
Brawner Jr. appealed to the CPP-NPA leadership to abandon the armed conflict adding that the country is currently confronting an unseen enemy that is even more serious, deadly, and exempts no one.
“I am personally appealing to Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris and his group to return to the peaceful path now and go down from the mountains so that they can be given vaccines and proper medical attention,” he said.
He reiterated Office of the Presidential Assistant on Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez’ promise that even members of the CPP-NPA-NDF will be provided with vaccines as a sign of government sincerity in calling for reconciliation amidst the pandemic.
“Personal kong ring hinihikayat ang iba pang mga kapatid natin na myembro ng New People’s Army na tuluyan ng bumaba at iwan ang hindi ligtas na kalagayan at maling pakikibaka sa panahon ng pandemya. Ang inyung kasundaluhan ay nangangako na kayo ay mababakunahan kasabay ng pagbabagong buhay na may panatag at ligtas na pamumuhay. As we still await the additional vaccines, the AFP is most willing to share with the CNTs the vaccines intended for our soldiers,” he added.
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.
The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA. (PR)