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01 July 2024

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) vehemently condemns the terror group New People’s Army (NPA) for killing civilians in Sultan Kudarat recently.

“This is pure terrorism in our peaceful communities. The two civilians attacked and killed are not combatants, they were defenseless advocates for unity, peace and development. Stop terrorizing our communities,” NTF-ELCAC Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. lamented.

He urged relatives of the victims to help police investigators identify the killers and file appropriate criminal charges against them while the military conducts pursuit operations.

The police reported, and this was confirmed by Sen. Ninoy Aquino town Vice Mayor Rafael Flauta, that Emong Kantala was killed inside his residence in Barangay Banali last Thursday (June 27, 2024). Prior to this, on Wednesday (June 26, 2024), NPA terrorists murdered Danilo Englatera while heading home from farm work in Barangay Wasay, Kalamansig town.

During the time of his murder, Kantala was the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR), a respected Datu for the Manobo Dulangan Tribe. Englatera, on the other hand, was a former NPA member who surrendered to the military in July 2022.

Both victims were active advocates against NPA terrorism in their own communities. The military blamed their murders on the Southern Regional Committee Daguma of Far South Mindanao Region.

Torres said that while the said NPA armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in said region had been weakened, the NPA remnants can still launch terror activities like killing in cold-blooded murder of civilians.

“That’s why we can’t be complacent against these NPA remnants, dahil nakakapanggulo pa sila, pumapatay pa sila ng mga sibilyan na walang kalaban-laban. Nakakapaghasik pa sila ng terorismo sa ating mga komunidad,” he said.

But these atrocities, Torres said, can be prevented by residents in peaceful communities through close collaboration with our security forces, and the municipal and barangay governments in thwarting the ingress of NPA terrorists in their own communities,” he said.

Torres said there are also mechanisms already in place from the regional, provincial, municipal and barangay in sustaining the peace gains such as promotion of sustainable economic development projects, and conduct of activities that are aimed to encourage NPA remnants to surrender and start a new life with their loved ones.

“One of the mechanisms is the Local Peace Engagement or LPE. This is an opportunity for NPA remnants to abandon violent extremism or NPA terrorism. Once surrendered, they can avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or ECLIP. There are a lot of benefits from this program,” he said.

He emphasized the government’s sincerity in resolving the political and economic issues that for decades were being used by the CPP-NPA in its armed struggle to topple the government.

“We now have also the Amnesty Program of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The National Amnesty Commission or NAC has been setting up Local Amnesty Boards (LABs) in strategic areas across the country where NPA remnants can surrender and apply. I enjoin you not to miss this opportunity, abandon the armed struggle and together, let us live in peace and prosperity,” Torres said.


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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