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Loreto residents declare NPA ‘persona non grata’

At least 400 residents of Barangay Binucayan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur on Tuesday signed a manifesto declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its various front organizations and supporters.

1Lt. Amadeuz VJ Celestial, the Civil-Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 60th Infantry Battalion, said manifesto was signed during the community dialogue, co-organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and local officials of Binucayan and Loreto.

Barangay Binucayan was previously identified as a CPP-NPA “influenced area” based on the parameters set in the Joint Letter Directive No. 3, series of 2018 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, which prescribes mechanisms by which the said agencies can assist LGUs in the implementation of programs and services for the people.

The residents—including farmers, small business owners, teachers, students, senior citizens, indigenous peoples, and even CSO representatives—reiterated their support for the government.

The dialogue centered on the barangay’s peace and order issues, particularly the recruitment of their residents to become members of the NPA. Later, various agencies also discussed the ongoing and upcoming government projects for Binucayan.

Municipal Administrator Samson Ramilo said the LGU is committed to deliver services, programs, and projects to improve the lives of the people.

Vice Mayor Randolph Plaza, on the other hand, asked the residents to be more vigilant and continue cooperating with the government in the spirit of the “whole-of-nation approach.”

Celestial added, “We need your help. We must choose to end this [local communist armed conflict] now so we can focus our energies and our resources to the development of our communities.”

In a separate statement, newly installed Battalion Commander of 60IB, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento, vowed to continue their commitment to help “establish peaceful and conflict-resilient communities.” He also called on members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to “stop terrorizing the people and exploiting their vulnerabilities.”

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