The Philippine Army is strengthening local peace engagements in Negros Island to resolve the conflict and encourage the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels to return to the fold of the law.
Major General Marion Sison, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) and Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, underscored such an initiative in support of the whole-of-government approach mandated under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELAC).
“We should support the NTF-ELCAC and local peace engagement to prevent and resolve conflicts and violence,” Sison said in a statement yesterday.
He assured that the 3ID would protect the Negrenses and end the decades-long insurgency.
“Whatever we are doing now is part of the efforts that the soldiers of the 3ID are undertaking. It’s not just a promise, it’s our commitment to the Filipino people and our country,” he added.
Data from the 3ID showed that from January 2022 to date, the CPP-NPA has been responsible for the deaths of 34 civilians, five soldiers, three former rebels, four government officials, and one police officer in Negros Island.
The communist group had admitted responsibility for 25 violent incidents as published on their websites.
“We are pursuing more comprehensive local peace engagements so that the remaining NPA fighters in the mountains can surrender and avail of our government’s program to start a new life with their families,” Edralin said.
According to the NTF-ELCAC, the local peace engagement intends to facilitate the peace process from the bottom level of the locality or community.
“This is highly encouraged as its main essence is to reach the possible group of surrenderers down the line,” it added.
On September 29, about 12 CPP-NPA rebels, including a ranking official of the Northern Negros Front who surrendered to government forces, were presented in rites held at the 79th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Sagay City.
The surrenderers were from the cities of Escalante, Sagay and San Carlos, and the municipalities of Toboso and Calatrava. (PNA)