ARMED Forces chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana yesterday appealed anew for public support in the campaign against the communist New People’s Army, which marked its 52nd foundation anniversary on Monday.
Sobejana said the NPA and its political wing, the Communist Party of the Philippines, have nothing to celebrate for because their armed struggle “is an utter failure as it only resulted to loss of lives and destruction to government and private properties.
“The CPP-NPA’s existence is and will always be tainted by violence, injustice, atrocities, deceit and lies. They remain to be one of the greatest hindrances to peace and development in some areas of our country,” Sobejana said.
Sobejana said the Filipino people are tired of the NPA’s “incessant treachery,” which he said has forced its members to surrender.
“These former rebels have already exposed the CPP-NPA for using enemy machinery that exploit the youth, academic, and religious sectors,” Sobejana said, adding the military “will continue to pressure the communist terrorists to lay down their arms and go back to the mainstream society” through the conduct of conventional and non-conventional operations, in collaborate with stakeholders.
He called on the Filipino people to help the government “in putting an end to the CPP-NPA’s decades-long violence.
“It is with unity that we will be able to convince our misled brothers and sisters to end the armed struggle and embrace genuine peace and development,” Sobejana said.
He vowed the AFP “shall render the CPP-NPA’s ageing leadership irrelevant while also addressing the organization’s capability to generate new leaders and recruit members.”
“The AFP nevertheless will always welcome those who have gone the wrong path and eventually chose peace over the senseless revolution of the communist terrorist CPP-NPA,” the AFP chief said.
Last Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana urged NPA rebels to surrender, saying: “In marking their anniversary this March 29, the New People’s Army, especially those in the higher echelons, should listen to the Filipino people: Enough is enough.”
Lorenzana said the NPA, for the past 52 years, has burned properties, spread lies, sowed violence and undermine the Republic “all in the name of their flawed ideology.
“Regarding themselves above the laws of the land, the NPA continuously and without remorse committed murder and other crimes. The bloods of thousands are on their hands,” he said.
Lorenzana said the NPA perpetuates insurgency through “deception and terrorism.”
“This communist terrorist group should know that we are not going to leave any stone unturned to finally end the atrocities they commit against the Filipino people. We will not falter in our mission,” he said.
Lorenzana said it now high time for the rebels to surrender, noting the people have not heeded their call for armed revolution. Military estimates placed the NPA strength at around 3,000 men.
“If the people have not heeded their call for a so-called revolution after all these years, the members of the NPA should realize that it is high time for them to lay down their arms. Let us work together for healing and sincere reconciliation through the government’s localized reintegration efforts,” he said.
Lorenzana said the government has accepted NPA rebels who returned to the fold of law.
“Indeed, we have much more to gain in seeking to build than to destroy. More than 50 years of terrorism and destruction is enough. A different road leading to peace and nation-building is already laid in front of us. This is what we all long for and the future generations of Filipinos deserve,” Lorenzana said.