THIRTY-FIVE mass supporters of a New People’s Army (NPA) group withdrew their support during a Peace Rally at Purok 7, Barangay Mabuhay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on June 2.
Major Francisco Garello Jr., the spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, said the 35 are composed of Milisyang Bayan, Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), contacts, and couriers of SRSDG Southland under the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
Garello said the former supporters conducted the rally to express their sentiments and condemnation against the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) after their eyes were opened and awakened to their deceit, lies, and manipulation.
The 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion led by Lt. Colonel Paulo F. Baylon, the Commanding Officer of 3SFBn, of the 401st Infantry “Unite N’ Fight” Brigade, under the 4th Infantry Division, together with the Local Government Unit of Prosperidad under the leadership of Mayor Frederick Mark P. Mellana facilitated the Government On Wheels and Peace Process.
The activity was attended by Provincial Department of the Interior and Local Government (PDILG), Revitalized-Police Sa Barangays (RPSB), and the Local Police of Prosperidad representatives.
Colonel Francisco F Lorenzo Jr, Commander of 401Bde, said the massive withdrawal of support was a result of the sustained Intensified Military Operations (IMO) and the successful implementation of Executive Order 70, also known as the “Whole of Nation” approach under the auspices of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Lorenzo said that the activity showcased the tangible success and underscored the effectiveness of the NTF-ELCAC in creating an environment conducive to lasting peace, empowering individuals to leave behind the futile cause and form trust among former rebels and government that served as the bedrock of sustainable peace and promotes unity across communities.
Meanwhile, 4ID commander Major General Jose Maria R. Cuerpo II lauded the 3SFBn and 401Bde for the incessant peace-building efforts with the populace and the former CTG supporters for recognizing the futility and consequences of their former allegiance.
He noted that this was a significant blow against the CTG, which desperately attempted to recover massive loss of mass support after a series of surrender of CTG key leaders and members in Agusan del Sur.
Further, Cuerpo said that the overwhelming surrender of supporters highlights the growing confidence in the government and its commitment to attaining an inclusive and long-lasting peace for the people not only in Agusan Sur and the Caraga region but also towards a progressive nation.
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