Bontoc villages hold rallies versus NPA

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Bontoc, Mountain Province –   Dalican, Guina-ang, and Mainit communities hold indignation rallies condemning the atrocities and deceptions of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s (CPP-NPA) and its political wing, the National Democratic Front, on three separate occasions of the Indignation Rally and Grand Pulong-Pulong on December 11-12, 2020.

Holding placards, village officials, various women’s organizations, the youth sector, representatives from the education sector, and the community marched along the thoroughfares of their barangays and voiced out that the CPP-NPA-NDF is not welcome in their villages. They called for the CPP-NPA-NDF to stop their extortion and atrocities to give the communities a better and peaceful place to live, work, and do business.

In 2019, the Mountain Province Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MP-PTF-ELCAC) conducted a series of consultations in Barangays Dalican, Guina-ang, and Mainit that were identified as influenced barangays. During the series of consultations, the barangays identified and listed their needs of which to be addressed by the convergence of various government agencies.

Municipal Legal Officer, Atty. Seichi Ofo-ob who was the keynote speaker during the three separate occasions called for peace to reign in the municipality. He acknowledged that there is no perfect government, but holding arms and joining the rebels in the mountain is not the solution. He added that there are peaceful ways to voice out complaints against the government.

Ofo-ob remarked that the government has been bringing its services to grassroots- the community. He cited the opening and concreting of the roads going the barangays, establishment of schools, livelihood programs to the farmers, are only a few of the government has brought.

Rev. Brent Harry Alawas, represented by Father Daniel Longatan in Barangays Guina-ang and Mainit mentioned that the on-going violent conflict between the military and rebels has caused fear and disturbance among the community people and has caused the loss of lives not only on the sides of both the military and rebels but also civilians.

He recognized the road constructions going to Barangays Dalican, Guina-ang, and Mainit as positive moves of the government to uplift the lives of the people. Rev. Alawas expressed optimism that more government programs will benefit the grassroots.

Municipal Local Government Operations Officer Lourdes Claire Peel mentioned that the ELCAC program of the national government adopted the whole-of-the-nation approach of which all government agencies have converged to address the needs of the ELCAC barangays.

Relative to this, the Channeg Farmers Association in Barangay Dalican, Bontoc, Mountain Province received twenty cows costing P557, 900 from the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA). This is coursed through the ELCAC initiatives of the government.

The Aratey Di Inkhawisan Organization comprising 60 members also received free-range chickens. Each member received 30 heads of free-range chicken, one sack grower feeds, one sack layer feeds, and five pieces of egg trays. This was funded through the SAAD Program of DA.

Mainit Elementary School and Mainit National High School in Barangay Mainit received one desktop and one printer each from the Bontoc Municipal Government. This is also the result of the ELCAC meeting held in Barangay Mainit participated in by concerned government agencies and the community of which the said barangay requested the provision of Information Technology (IT) equipment in the said schools.

Peel remarked that these are only a few of the lists of needs identified by the concerned barangays of which the national government and LGU have addressed. She added that these are manifestations that the government is fulfilling its commitment to the community.

PMAJ James D. Acod, the Officer-in-Charge of the Mountain Province Police Mobile Force Command (MPPMFC) remarked that the gathering of the community is a manifestation that they do not want violence in their place.

LTC Franz Josef Diamante, the Commanding Officer of 54th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army lauded the efforts of the community in condemning the CPP-NPA-NDFF.   He also gave the assurance that soldiers will constantly collaborate with their PNP counterparts, the local government, and different agencies to help the communities to be resilient against the threats being brought by the peace spoilers.

PCAPT Barnard Bone Navarra, represented by PLT Manuel Bigwil, the Deputy Chief of Police for Operations in his message encouraged the parents to always look upon their children.

Guina-ang Punong Barangay Domingo Mang-usan, Mainit Punong Barangay Johnson Tangchor, and Dalican Punong Barangay Reynald Waking unanimously expressed their gratitude to the government for bringing its services to their respective barangays. They recognized the commitment of the government in uplifting the lives of their constituents.

Guina-ang Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) President Clymson Magsoy, Mainit SK President Evayan Chaloyen, and Dalican SK President and SK Municipal Federation President Sherwin Chamkas are one in encouraging the youth to focus on their studies and not to be deceived by the ideologies of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Likewise, the respective Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative of Barangays Guina-ang, Mainit, and Dalican

During the occasions, a former rebel testified about his experience as a member of the CPP- NPA-NDF, which started when they were recruited as members of front organizations in their teens.  With this, he encouraged the youth not to follow the mistake he has committed.

Part of the occasion is the unveiling of tarpaulin of which states that the Local Government Units of Mountain Province and its people declared the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), and its affiliate organizations, subversive leftist groups, CPP-NPA-NDF, and other terrorist groups as a persona- non grata.

By Alpine L. Killa