Duterte’s pro-poor projects weaken NPA stronghold in Bukidnon

THE REGION
January 21, 2020

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MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon - Two top-ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) based in southern part of Bukidnon has admitted that President Duterte's pro-poor projects reportedly weakened the stronghold of the NPA rebels in many towns in Bukidnon Province.

“We are losing ground because people started to notice the progress of projects President Duterte has done in their respective barangays such as setting up of health centers in remote areas, construction of roads and bridges, road widening and expansion, among all other government programs where the poorest of the poor are all counted in.”  

These were the pronouncements of Couple Renante Tumbalang alias “Jigger” and Resylyn Pardo aka “Jamby,” leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) of Guerilla Front 6 (GF6) who surrendered Thursday (January 16) to Valencia City local officials.

The couple said President Duterte’s projects for the poor pushed them to surrender.

“Jigger,” 37, from barangay Nacabuklad, San Fernando town is the commander of GF6’s Front Operational Command, while his wife “Jamby,” 28, of barangay Namnam in the same town is the GF6 Secretary and strategist who is in command in radicalizing new members.  

Their Command covers the city of Valencia and six other towns, specifically San Fernando, Kitaotao, Maramag, Don Carlos, Dangcagan, and Quezon.

In a press conference, she recounted their ease of recruiting “Lumad (native)” folks in previous years because no government agencies tried to visit the areas involved in their movement.  

“Previously, we can easily sway our Lumad brothers to join in our group. But when President Duterte ordered to implement the ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) program, the barrio folks felt the government is getting closer and cares for them. Newly paved highways eased the farm-to-market deliveries of their harvests. Our supporters, therefore, started to fall off. Eventually, they [mass base] withdrew their support to our group,” Jamby said.

Five other NPA leaders also surrendered along with the couple, namely Shairyl Pardo aka ‘MG’, platoon group squad leader, Sentro de Grabidad; Roger Gonzales aka ‘Narra,’ platoon group team leader; Regine Pardo aka ‘Raya,’ platoon leader, Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP5); Angelito Tundag aka ‘Grob,’ Vice Commanding Officer, SYP5; and Mark Jason Pardo aka ‘Rassk’, platoon officer, Sentro de Grabidad.

Asked who initiated their surrender, Jamby quickly said, “We came out on our own because we realized it was futile to pursue our cause.”

In fact, Jamby repeatedly apologized to those she may have done wrong in the course of her being an NPA top officer then.

The 7-man NPA leaders surrendered to Valencia City mayor Azucena Huervas and congressman Rogelio Neil Roque thru barangay Banlag councilor Saliezer Dejos.

Brigadier General Edgardo De Leon, 403rd Brigade Commander said the surrender of Front Secretary is a very significant breakthrough of the Task Force ELCAC (End Local Communist Armed Conflict) efforts.

He said Guerrilla Front 6 in Bukidnon is in the brink of collapse, pointing to the continued surrender of top-ranking NPA leaders and the fall of several members as indicators.

“Joma [Jose Maria Sison] is singing his own praises. The rising number of Guerilla Fronts that Joma boastfully claimed is now waning. Jamby revealed that 18 KRBs (Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong Barangay or CPP ‘shadow government’) that she personally established in Bukidnon were dismantled due to the people’s withdrawal of membership in their “KalMas (Kalihokang Masa)” and “Sanga sa Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL),” BGen. De Leon said.      

Jamby and Jigger, along with their five comrades, were presented by Valencia City officials to Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr as Provincial Chairman of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) Committee.

After thorough profiling, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office will determine the package of assistance that would suit the needs of these FRs (former rebels), which the military now calls “Kauban sa kalinaw ug kalamboan.”

Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4ID Commander commended the 403rd Brigade, the 88IB, and the local government unit of Bukidnon for winning the peaceful war.

"Our war is not focused on winning battles through the barrel of guns. Ours is a peaceful war involving communities in conflict-affected areas. We, together with local leaders and our constituents, join hands and commit to battle land issues, poverty, and other problems through dialogue with the right people, organization, and agency,” MGen. Gacal said. -- RLRBalistoy/PIA Bukidnon


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