LOOKING FORWARD FOR UMA, LUBUAGAN, KALINGA BECOMING A 'CPP-NPA FREE' COMMUNITY
Last June 22-24, 2021, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Lubuagan, Kalinga held a 3-day National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Serbisyo Caravan in the three barangays of Uma- a remote village in the municipality of Lubuagan, Kalinga. These barangays were listed as CPP-NPA influenced Barangays in the province of Kalinga according to the AFP and PNP. And this has become one of the major obstacles to the development of the village.
During the Serbisyo Caravan, the residents were finally united in one voice and took a brave stand against the CPP-NPA, they marched with their streamers condemning the CPP-NPA and showed their support to the peace and development building initiatives of the government denouncing all forms of violence, terrorism and atrocities that impede peace and development in the community.
The call of my Kailyans to the CPP-NPA to leave and stop bothering them resonated across the mountains, valleys and streams of the entire municipality of Lubuagan and I am convinced that the members of the CPP-NPA have heard it.
Back then, we had no idea who the CPP-NPA was and how they intend to overthrow the government destroying our Freedom and democracy. It was only now that 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 in the community of Western Uma, Lubuagan on December 23, 2018, but we remained blind and deaf.
We took no measures to condemn or expel these terrorists in our communities; we did not dare, because we were afraid.
If we look back in the past, we can say that we are far better, because of what we have achieved today.
I still remember when a team of the CPP-NPA visited my small community in Uma, Lubuagan Kalinga way back in 2007. Since we Ikalinga are hospitable, we entertained them as guests, we served them hot coffee and we fed them with the little food we could share. They did not sleep in houses; they camped in a hut about five kilometers from the community.
The next morning, they invited everyone to attend to what they called 'Innadal', which means teach-in. So 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 this "Innadal". I do not recall what they taught to the adults, because I was still young then, but I remember we were taught songs, "Pagan anu mi ti kuryenti nu awan ti makan a masilawan iti lamisaan" a line I can remember. Little did I know that the line of the song is a clear expression of their strong opposition to development.
Now, they are not even seen once in the village. They are hiding, because I am sure they know that the villagers were aware of their communist terrorist ideologies.
Their number is weakening as well, because many of my Kababayans were 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 (E-CLIP).
One of the factors that I believe guided my Kababayans to raise their voices and condemned the CPP-NPA is the Community Support Program of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police. Besides helping our community, they also organized the youth sector and registered organizations to DOLE 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. Patriotism amongst young people shines once again. They are now actively involved in the community programs for peace and development.
And so, let us take this long leap forward. Let us not be enslaved by fear, because the government is behind us in our struggle to free up our beloved place from the influence of the CPP-NPA.
Let us keep encouraging our Kababayans 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 and that will surely pave the way for Peace and development.