November 29, 2023

I thank my kailyan for the brave stand and actions they have shown during the successive Serbisyo caravan in Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga. This is a part of the program under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The residents participated in the rally against the Community Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army to show their support to the peace and development building initiatives of the government by denouncing all forms of violence, terrorism and atrocities that impede peace and development in the community.
We were made to realize the true nature of the CPP-NPA because of the intensified and relentless campaign of the government to end the insurgency problem.
We have witnessed several encounters between the CPP-NPA and government forces within our own community, just like how they disrespected our domains as they attacked a Cafgu detachment at western Uma.
We took no measures to condemn or expel them because we were afraid.
Uma was listed as one of the CPP-NPA influenced barangays in Kalinga and this has become one of the major obstacles to its development.
I still remember when a team of the CPP-NPA visited Uma in 2007.
We entertained them. They camped in a hut five kilometers from the community. The next morning, they invited everyone to attend to what they called innadal, which means teach-in.
Young people, women, and a few men accepted the invitation and went to the CPP-NPA temporary camp. They posted papers and other materials they have on the tree trunks and under the shade of those alnus trees we gathered and attended the innadal.
I do not recall what they taught to the adults, because I was still young then, but I remember they taught us songs.
Now, they are not even seen once in the village. Their number is dwindling because many of our kailyan are enlightened and have already returned to the fold of the law and now enjoying the assistance from the government under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
The Community Support Program of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police helped guide the community.
They also organized the youth and registered organizations to become legitimate partners of the government for peace and development. I also see their ardent desire to be part of the armed forces in order to serve and protect the state and the people.
Let us take this long leap forward. Let us not be enslaved by fear because the government is behind us and keep encouraging our kailyan who are still in the CPP-NPA to surrender and lay down their arms and start a new life with their family.
We will soon be a CPP-NPA-free community that will surely pave the way for peace and development. (JOAN A. SAGA-OC)