March 24, 2023

Cordillera provinces joined thousands nationwide in publicly denouncing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, with the Philippine National Police declaring there is no reason to celebrate the founding anniversary of the communist group.

The indignation rallies, held in 74 locations in the country from Northern Luzon to Southern Mindanao, including five locations in Metro Manila, were simultaneously held Dec. 26 by civil society organizations, families of victims of CPP-NPA hostilities, youth and student sector representatives, local government units, and religious and indigenous peoples organized by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to express condemnation over the anti-people terrorist activities of the communist New People’s Army.

In Baguio, groups marched from Session Road to Peoples’ Park where a program was held.

Mayor Victorio Palangdan led the rally in Itogon, Benguet, together with residents and representatives from the Bureau of Fire Protection, barangay officials, and volunteers.

Tuba, Benguet staged a rally condemning terror activities by rebels, while in Bontoc, Mountain Province, participants burned an effigy of CPP-NPA-NDF founder Jose Ma. Sison.

Those in Poblacion, Tubo, Abra held a walk for peace, while an indignation rally was joined by barangay officials and members of youth and religious sectors joined in Tayum, Abra in denouncing violence ways of the communist rebels.

In Mountain Province, Bontoc officials led by Mayor Franklin Odsey also burned the effigies of ranking CPP-NPA-NDF officials.

In Apayao, a rally was held in from of the Luna municipal hall joined by different sectors, while firm opposition against the activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF was expressed in Rizal, Kalinga by the burning of communities and effigies and picture of Sison.

The CPP-NPA-NDF marked its 51st founding anniversary on Dec. 26.

In a statement released Dec. 26, PNP OIC Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa said “there is no reason to celebrate if the cause they are fighting for over the last five decades has already resulted in tens of thousands of Filipinos dead.”

Instead, he said the whole-of-nation approach against communist insurgency offers brighter prospects for peace and national unity among broad sectors of Filipino society.

He noted the latest “acts of treachery and deceit” by the CPP-NPA-NDF, which carried out landmine attacks on troops returning to barracks upon declaration of unilateral ceasefire on Dec. 23.

Gamboa reported that the simultaneous anti-communist public indignation rallies culminated peacefully with no untoward incidents reported with PNP units providing area security for the events. – Hanna C. Lacsamana