Recent events prove that Communism in the Philippines has met its eventual death as it did in the foreign countries that had adopted the ideology.
Massive members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front surrendered to different units of the Philippine Army. There were a total of 310 rebels who gave in to military forces in January alone.
“Their voluntary surrender was due to the experienced hardships, homesick, fear of death; and most of all, the realization of the futility of their cause in the organization,” said 25th IB Commander Lt. Col. Oscar B. Balignasay Jr.
In an interview conducted by the 71Infantry Division, the former CNN members admitted they were deceived. The promises of equal distribution of wealth was confirmed to be fruitless and the supposed revolution is proven to be a lost cause.
Loss of credibility
“People now understand why CPP-NPA terrorists (CNTs) have to be neutralized, either the CNTs surrender or die in their desperately impossible-to-win armed struggle,” added Major General Noel S Clement, Commander of 10th ID.
Tribal chieftain Aurellio G Mataas and barangay kagawad Generoso G Mataas revealed that they can no longer stand the shame brought about by being NPA supporters. The frequent extortion and threat posed by the terrorists in their community made them incapable public officials.
“In the case of the elected officials, it was a tough decision but they surrendered to redeem the people’s trust… With this, we are reminding those who are supporting the CPP-NPA terrorists that it is a criminal offense under RA 10168 also known as ‘Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012,” said MGen Clement.
A total of 85 explosive devices were collected from the former terrorists who admitted to have grown tired of hiding and evading the relentless pursuit of the troops.
“Massive surrender of mass supporters from guerilla bases connotes that the NPA ideology and senseless struggle is failing and that the community already realized its baseless fight against the government,” said Lieutenant Colonel Esteyven Ducusin, Commanding Officer of 71IB.
An end to Child Armies
Among the surrenderers was 16-year old Jay-Ar Fermentira.
MGen Noel S Clement said, “We are saddened that a minor was violated by the terrorists.”
“These circumstances are indicative that the NPA violates the laws that safeguard the rights of children, particularly Republic Act 7610 which punishes ‘any person who commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development’,” added Major General Angelito De Leon, 7th Infantry Division Commander.
“It is also a violation to the signed agreement, Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), that these rebels are recruiting child warriors or minors to join them in their armed struggle and allowing them to take part in fighting,” MGen De Leon said, “We will further strengthen our intelligence and civil military operations so that these activities will stop.”
It is noteworthy that back in 2012, the military already expressed condemnation on NPA’s conduct of creating child armies through deception. Then Major General Victor A. Felix of the 4th Infantry Division had said that NPA was capitalizing on the innocence of minors to further its cause instead of letting them go to school and live normal lives.
Col. Henry Robinson Jr. (MNSA) PA, 702nd brigade commander, said that the revelation of the former rebels is necessary to communicate to the different sectors that handle the youth, more especially in educational institutions.
A call to stop fighting for lost cause
Nilo Legaspi, the spokesperson of the NDFP Far South Mindanao Region, surrendered to the government last week along with his wife, in Davao City over the third weekend of January.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said Duterte “asked Nilo Legaspi, who was taken in Tulunan through the efforts of Governor Daisy Fuentes, that he should communicate the efforts of the government now to his former comrades who are still there fighting for a ‘lost cause’ after being misled by the principles of Marxism and Maoism that are even abandoned by their proponents and sponsors in all parts of the world.“
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called members of the communist NPA to start life anew and assured protection against those who might hunt them down. The president expressed gratefulness to the returnees, sought their support for the government, and guaranteed safety and assistance.
MGen Clement said they are grateful the people heed their call to encourage relatives who are struggling in the hands of the terrorists to surrender.
The Armed Forces will continue to pursue terrorists. “As much as we want peace, these terrorists must be neutralized so they can no longer influence and terrorize the communities in the countryside,” said MGen Clement. “10th ID is always ready to accept surrender of NPAs, and its supporters. To the NPAs, redeem your right to live peacefully with your families and come back to the folds of the law. The Government program awaits you.”
Lt. Col. Balignasay Jr added, “Our forces will continue to pursue peace and development efforts through Focused Military Operations (FMO), Community Support Program (CSP), information gathering efforts, and collaboration with all stakeholders.”
The surrenderers will undergo programs such as Two-Day Awareness Seminar and Comprehensive Local Integration Program for surrendered terrorists.