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2,510 ex-NPAs, allies surrender in Escalante City

first_imgThe event also commemorated the 34thyear of the Escalante Massacre, where 20 people died and scores of others wereinjured after they were shot by paramilitary forces during a protest-rally helda day before the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law. BACOLOD CITY – A total of 2,510 formerrebels and members of the New People’s Army (NPA) took their oath of allegianceto the Philippine government in Escalante City, Negros Occidental. During the program, governmentauthorities also apologized for the tragedy brought by the Escalante Massacre.Those who delivered statements of apologies were Executive Assistant RolynCabus; Maj. Win Love Bag-ao, commander of 33rd Civil-Military OperationsCompany; and Col. Romeo Baleros, director of Negros Occidental PoliceProvincial Office. He added that civilian agents, includingpsychologists and lawyers, assisted the surrenderers during the debriefing tohelp them cope with their fear of returning to the fold of the law. In her testimony, she has expressedwillingness to avail of the services of various government agencies. According to Vinoya, “the tragedy wasused by left-leaning organizations to fuel hatred and disgust against theduly-constituted government to push their wicked agenda.” Former rebels and supporters of the New People’s Army pledge allegiance to the Philippine government during the northern Negros peace summit in Escalante City, Negros Occidental on Sept. 20. PNA Others were from San Carlos City, 560;Toboso, 382; Don Salvador Benedicto, 217; Calatrava, 171; Sagay City, 63;Victorias City, 54; Cadiz City, 20; Murcia, 18; EB Magalona, 14; Manapla, 13;and Silay City, 1. “The time is now to move on andtransform the lesson of the past to be our jumping board for a better future.With the help of the agencies, organizations, and the whole nation, we willachieve genuine, inclusive and sustainable peace,” the army official added. “We are very fortunate to witness one ofthe nation’s milestones in achieving peace today. We will turn the EscalanteMassacre tragedy into a peace summit miracle,” said Brigadier Generak EricVinoya, assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), in hiskeynote message. One of the surrenderers, JanetPantonial, now in her 50s, was one of those injured in the 1985 massacre andhas decided to reconcile with the government. Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. of the host-citysaid the process of surrender of those from Escalante started as early asNovember last year. Of the 2,510 former rebels who pledgedallegiance before Escalante City local government operations officer SharonCadigai, a majority or 997 were from Escalante. The surrender took place during thesecond day of the North Negros Peace Summit hosted by the city government of Escalantewith the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion. In a statement, the 3ID said the “Armyis not in any way involved in the massacre, but we do accept the fact that thegovernment failed to address the social issues being raised by the peasants andthe marginalized sector, which prompted them to revolt during that time.” (With a report from PNA/PN)last_img read more