CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A total of 71 New People’s Army (NPA) members, militiamen, and mass-base supporters withdrew their support to communist terrorist group yesterday (June 3) and took their oath of allegiance to the government at Sitio Kiwag, Barangay Salansang, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
Out of the 71, 3 were regular NPA members, 8 were members of Yunit Militia, and 60 were mass base supporters. All were affiliated to the West Daguma Front of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) undermining the peace and order situation in Sultan Kudarat. Majority of them are Indigenous People (IP) who were victims of the CTG’s deceptive recruitment.
Accordingly, they were recruited by Leon Tacduro a.k.a. Paeng, who was the head of Regional Peasant Bureau of Far South Mindanao Region and education head of Sub-Regional Command (SRC)-Daguma. Paeng was previously arrested by the combined government forces of 6th Infantry Battalion and Lebak Municipal Police last March 16, 2020 at Sitio Kipopo of Barangay Keytodak.
“The IPs were totally unaware of Paeng’s true nature when they were blindly recruited to be part of the politico-military-structure of NPA in Lebak until they were alarmed after his arrest. This is the very reason of their voluntary withdrawal of support from the group and sworn their allegiance to the government for them to live normally and peacefully,” said 6th IB Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Clairemont Pinpin.
“This attest that the apprehension of Paeng greatly affected the operations of the SRC-Daguma as their mass supporters were redirected and their plans on establishing mass bases were revealed and hampered,” Lt. Col. Pinpin added.
The activity was witnessed by Sultan Kudarat Peace and Order Council Chairman Booy Bevelyn Zapanta, Lebak Mayor Frederick Celestial, Sultan Kudarat Board Member Joseph Ortiz, National Commission on Indigenous People Provincial Officer Timuey Macapanto Manamba, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Florencio Apang, and Barangay Chairmen of Salangsang and Keytodak.
“You just made a great decision to abandon the NPA for the good of your families. There’s no future in joining in their organization and that living in peace and harmony is still the best of all,” Mayor Celestial said while addressing the IPs.
Commander Joint Task Force Central, Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon expressed his appreciation in the recent addition to the accomplishments of JTFC as the 71 who withdrew their support is a big blow to the communist terrorist group operating in the area.
The local government of Lebak provided them with initial assistance courtesy of Department of Social Work and Development and farm equipment to start anew in their communities.