DAVAO CITY – The local leaders of Barangay Camam-onan and Gigaquit town of Surigao del Norte declared the New People’s Army (NPA) as persona non grata following the surrender of 28 members of the communist Militia ng Bayan on Friday.
The declaration of the NPA as persona non grata by Camam-onan Barangay Captain Inday Flor Bangga and Gigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay also prompted some 267 members of the Underground Mass Organization (UGMO) to withdrew their support to the NPA.
The surrenderers also handed over seven assorted firearms to the 30th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division under Lt. Col. Allen Raymund Tomas.
Barangay Camam-onan is one of the 32 villages in Surigao del Norte that have been declared as peace and development zone (PDZ) in the province.
It was in Gigaquit where the PDZ initiative of Caraga region was launched in August last year.
There are currently 116 villages targeted as peace zones – six in Butuan, 22 in Agusan del Sur, 32 in Surigao del Norte and 39 in Surigao del Sur.
With this development, Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, Maj. Gen. Felimon Santos, lauded the collaboration and cooperation of stakeholders in the peace zones.
Santos expressed optimism that the government and communities will finally achieve peace and cut the cycle of insurgency.
“Way to go. We can achieve the peace that we are longing and cut the cycle of insurgency if we put our acts together and resolve issues and concern being used by the NPA as propaganda subject,” Santos said in a statement.
Col. Ezra Balagtey, Eastmincom spokesperson, said Camam-onan was used to be considered as a conflict-affected area.
Balagtey said the PDZ is a joint peace-building initiative of the Regional Peace and Order Council and the Regional Development Council of CARAGA region which seeks to address the root causes of conflict through reconciliation, peace constituency building, social, political and economic transformation.
The peace zone initiative was introduced by then 4thID commander and now Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, which sought to use a whole-of-nation-approach in pursuing all socioeconomic programs.
Madrigal said addressing the root causes of conflict needs the support of all government agencies, local government units and all stakeholders.
source: (Lilian Mellejor/PNA)