Monday Sep, 23 2019 09:47:35 PM

Maguindanao town exec seeks to stop NPA recruitment

Local News • 17:00 PM Thu Sep 12, 2019
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY – Local officials in South Upi, Maguindanao, along with the military and local police, are closely monitoring the town's far-flung villages following reports of alleged recruitment activities by communist rebels in the area.

South Upi is an upland town that borders Sen. Ninoy Aquino and Lebak towns in Sultan Kudarat, where the communist New Peoples’ Army (NPA) still operates.

Mayor Reynalbert Insular said residents in interior villages have reported the presence of armed men who are not from the village.

“Their faces are new to our residents; these people are not IPs,” Insular said, referring to the alleged recruiters.

South Upi is predominantly inhabited by Indigenous Peoples known as the Tedurays.

“I will not allow our IPs to get involved in communism. We are living peacefully here and we shun troubles,” Insular said in the vernacular.

Early this month, Insular said five Teduray IPs recruited by NPAs decided to surrender with their guns to the local government and the military.

Insular vowed to help the military and the police in convincing the locals to refrain from entertaining “new faces” in their villages.

Instead, they are encouraged to report to authorities the presence of armed men in their communities so appropriate actions from the government could be taken.

The mayor also said his office is engaging families locked in feuds to bring them to the negotiating table and settle misunderstanding peacefully.

The NPA, along with the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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