The Philippine Army is strengthening its information and education campaign in communities to discourage residents from joining the New People’s Army (NPA).
Colonel Pio Diñoso, commanding officer of the Philippine Army's 301st Infantry Brigade based in Dingle, Iloilo, confirmed on September 26 that last week’s sighting of 40 members of the NPA in Barangay Panuran, a mountainous village of Lambunao, Iloilo, was part of the communist group's ongoing recruitment activity.
Diñoso said the NPA's recruitment activity is a “never ending cycle” because of their dwindling number.
The armed movement promised them salary and other forms of assistance while making propaganda against the government. While others were convinced, eventually, they leave the movement after one or two years, added Diñoso.
He said the government troops are coordinating with local government units and other government agencies to provide solutions to the “reforms” that the rebels are fighting for.
While the Army is presenting “Bayanihan” to end the conflict against the rebels, Diñoso said these rebels, however, are presenting “arm revolution.”
He said some funds of the government are even used to combat arm struggle of rebels when it should be used for social and economic projects like construction of roads and school buildings.
“If there is no arm struggle, if there is no fighting between government forces and non-state actors like NPAs, we can channel or divert the funds from the arm conflict into more productive endeavors,” he said.
Meanwhile, the letter that was reportedly sent by the NPA to the local police and municipal officials of Alimodian, Iloilo, is still being validated, said Diñoso.
The letter contains the NPA’s concern on peace talk, he said.
“Ever since, we are open to talk to them and that was the solution we presented to them. We just want them to show their sincerity,” he said, adding that all communication lines are open.
Alimodian Mayor Geefre Alonsabe, meanwhile, ordered the town police to double their efforts to further maintain the peace and order in their area.
Alonsabe said the letter from the NPA is a sort of “reminder” to the police. (PNA)