January 31, 2023

Youth and other stakeholders condemned the atrocities committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines on its 54th anniversary during the Peace Convention on Dec. 26, 2022 at the Malcom Square, Baguio City.
The Peace Convention was spearheaded by the 5th Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Battalion with the Youth for Peace-Baguio Chapter, the Police Regional Office-Cordillera, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru), former rebels, and other advocates for peace.
“Kira”, a former rebel, shared her experience as a former member of Migrante International for six years before she joined the CPP’s armed group – the New People’s Army.
“Naging miyembro ako ng grupong sumusuporta sa NPA sa loob ng anim na taon bago ako nanumpa upang maging miyembro ng NPA. Mapagbalat-kayo ang CPP-NPA-NDF. Napakagaling nilang magmanipula hanggang sa masira nila ang buhay ng kanilang biktima,” Kira said.
Lt. Col. Dominador Valerio, 5th CMO Battalion commander, said the activity is part of the continuous appeal to the victims of the CPP-NPA-NDF to surrender.
“You are now given the time and opportunity to return to the folds of the law. Your family is waiting for you – wishing for your return this holiday season,” Valerio said.   
He said the Army is an ally of the people in attaining inclusive peace and development.
Meanwhile, Fr. Adonis Bringas from the Opappru said it is high time for the people to change for development, change for progress and change for peace.
He said the change needed for development and progress in the country could not be attained through violent ways but through peaceful means.
Bringas also encouraged the youth to stay away from violence and atrocities and fulfill what national hero Dr. Jose Rizal said that the “youth are the hope of the nation”.
“It is high time to embrace change. Change for the better and for the common good. We can attain peace when we are brave to let go of the things that hinder us. Iwaksi natin ang mga mapanlinlang na katuruan na nagdadala sa atin sa kapahamakan at kahirapan,” Bringas said.
A peace concert rally and cultural presentation capped the event. – Redjie M. Cawis