Bacolod declares CPP-NPA persona non grata

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BACOLOD CITY — The City of Bacolod has joined other local government units in Negros Occidental in rejecting the presence of the Community Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

A resolution was unanimously passed by the City Council on Wednesday, declaring the CPP-NPA persona non grata here to contribute to the “whole-of-nation” approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

Councilor Al Victor Espino, who authored the resolution as chairperson of the City Council committee on police matters, peace and order, and illegal drugs, confirmed the approval of the resolution on Friday.

“The atrocities perpetrated by the communist-terrorist group does not only disturb the socio-economic status of the city and the province, but more importantly, it hinders the goal of achieving peace and order,” a portion of the resolution read.

It cited Executive Order No. 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, providing the institutionalization of the “whole-of-nation” approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creating a national task force to end the local communist armed conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and directing the adoption of a national peace framework.

The resolution said “there is a need for a united and concerted effort with the police, military and civilian population for the prevention and deterrence of any terrorism, insurgency, and highly-organized crimes in the city and province.”

“There is also a need to reframe and refocus the government policy for achieving inclusive and sustainable peace by recognizing that insurgencies, internal disturbances and tensions, and other armed conflicts and threats are not only military and security concerns, but are symptomatic of broader social, economic and historical problems such poverty, historical injustice, social inequality, and lack of inclusivity, among others,” it added.

On Friday, the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade based in neighboring Murcia town lauded the move of Bacolod City.

“It’s a welcome development. It really shows their great desire to keep Bacolod City free from the influence of the CPP-NPA. I hope (more) cities and municipalities will follow the lead of Bacolod,” brigade commander Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo said.

He added that in this situation, the saying, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the oppressed. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” is apt.

“In the case of Bacolod City, they have taken the right side in the fight against the extortionist-terrorists,” Arevalo said.

Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, information officer of Bacolod City Police Office, also welcomed the action of the city government.

“We are glad with the move of the City of Bacolod. It is a big support to the President’s order to end insurgency,” he added.

Earlier, other cities in Negros Occidental such as Escalante, San Carlos, and La Carlota also passed resolutions declaring the communist-terrorist group persona non grata.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.