Bukidnon surrenderees not NPA members, says CPP

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/21 November)—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed the recent surrender ceremony in Bukidnon calling it a “psywar fakery,” and called on human rights organization to “investigate the incident” because the supposed surrenderees may have been “rounded-up by the military and made to pose as NPA (New People’s Army) fighters.”

In an emailed statement Sunday, the CPP media bureau said the surrender ceremony only showed the desperation of the government’s armed forces.

The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP.

“This is not the first time that the AFP has conducted ‘surrender’ photo-ops and media PR gimmicks in their desperate hope to downplay the growth of the revolutionary movement and the intensifying revolutionary armed resistance of the people,” the statement said.

“In order to conduct these so-called surrender ceremonies, the AFP forcibly round up local residents and tell them to attend a military-sponsored assembly,” it added.

“They are made to sign up an attendance sheet only to find out later that they are being accused of being NPA fighters and presented to the media as surrenderees,” the statement continued.

Last week, some 80 alleged combatants of the NPA led by a certain Benjamin Salusad alias Nonong surrendered to 8th Infantry Battalion. Reports said they also turned over 25 high-powered firearms.

The commanding general of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP Lieutenant General Arthur I. Tabaquero attended the surrender ceremony.

In the event, Tabaquero was quoted as saying: “This is a big reduction in the number of rebels and their ability to wage attacks on military and civilian installations and the populace.”

Of the 80 alleged NPA surrenderees, 31 were said to be regular guerrillas while 49 were supposedly members of the Milisya ng Bayan (people’s militia).

The CPP neither confirmed nor denied that Salusad and the others who surrendered with him were NPA regulars or rebel militia. But they concurred that the supposed surrenderees were from San Fernando, Bukidnon.

“Human rights organizations, church, and other civic associations can help the people of San Fernando, Bukidnon by investigating the so-called surrender and determine whether the local residents were harassed, forced, or deceived by the AFP to participate in the military-sponsored ceremony,” the statement said.

“The revolutionary forces anticipate the AFP to conduct more and more of these surrender ceremonies and other psywar gimmicks in the face of its increasing losses in the battlefield in various provinces in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country,” said the CPP.

“The AFP, however, will only be fooling itself. Such shallow and empty psywar gimmicks no longer strike a chord among the people. The local residents of San Fernando, Bukidnon, are fully aware of the lies and deception of the AFP,” the group added. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)