Saturday Aug, 24 2019 09:17:49 PM

Kidapawan residents to NPA: “You are no longer welcome here”

Mindanao Peace Process • 14:30 PM Tue Aug 13, 2019
Edwin O. Fernandez
Anti-NPA protesters march through Kidapawan's major street toward the city hall on Monday. (DXND photo)

KIDAPAWAN CITY – Fed up by empty promises and forced taxation, poor farmers and local officials of Kidapawan City’s seven barangays on Monday declared the communist rebels are no longer welcome in their communities.

To show their dislikes to the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) who have been mulcting them every time harvest season comes, hundreds of residents led by their village officials marked along major street in Kidapawan to denounce the communist movement.

“Get out of our communities,” one of the placards that the protesters carry as they marked toward the city plaza. “CPP, NPA, NDF layas mo diri sa kidapawan (CPP, NPA, NDF get out of Kidapawan City),” another placard said.

The residents were from Barangays Katipunan, San Roqe, Gayola, Linangkob, San Isidro, Sto Nino, and Malinan.

Their village officials joined the protests that ended at the city gymnasium where they torched NPA-NDF flags.

While marching along the streets, they distributed leaflets to motorists and passersby that contain their desire that the NPAs leave their communities.

“They must leave us alone, their promises to lift us from poverty was nothing but lip service, worst they kept on asking for revolutionary tax or food supplies,” Antonio Gorospe, one of the protesters, said in the vernacular.  “If we don’t give in, they will threaten us with harm, it’s good that the government is helping us get rid of rebels in our villages,” he added.

The anti-NPA protest rally was held while the city is celebrating “Timpupo Festival” (fruit harvest festival).

The protest was part of the 4-day peace buildiogn seminar organized by the Army’s 72nd Infantry Battalion.

Lt Col. Rey Alvarado, 72nd IB commander, said the rally clearly shows the peoples’ dislike toward communism.

“They have spoken, their presence in communities of peace loving people is no longer necessary,” said 72nd Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Colonel Rey Alvarado in a radio interview.

The Army earlier identified the seven upland villages of Kidapawan City as NPA-influenced and conducted programs to convince people not to support the NPA anymore.

Alvarado said the government is more than willing to provide services that the people in the countryside need, like land reform, livelihood and a peaceful community.

Village officials refused to grant interviews and the NPA is yet to issue statement on the protest.

Alvarado also said while the government is against the NPA activities, it is also open to any guerilla who wish to live normal lives and productive by voluntarily laying down his firearm.

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