Various groups in Bohol led by the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) took to the streets to denounce the atrocities of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NPA) on December 26, the day of the CPP’s founding anniversary.
Over 500 personnel of the BPPO and the Philippine Army, rebel returnees, representatives from the Muslim community and barangay tanods and officials marched from the Capitol to the City Square in Tagbilaran City where they held the peace rally.
Some participants carried placards denouncing the CPP-NPA and calling their activities “unwelcome” in the province.
BPPO director Col. Jonathan Cabal called the event a “counter-rally” supposedly in anticipation of rallies by leftist groups during the CPP’s anniversary, but no left-wing group was reported to have held a rally in the city on the same day.
According to Cabal, their rally was intended to extend a message of peace to the CPP-NPA and for them to end the “senseless war.”
“This is an offering of peace. Probably makarating sakanila na ang Bohol police and at the same time ang Bol-anon ay gusto ng progress, peace and development, hindi natin kailangan ng away dito sa Bohol,” he said.
He however noted that the BPPO will not allow the NPA to disturb the peace and stifle the progress made in the province.
According to Cabal, Bohol has made steady strides towards development and cut down unemployment and poverty rates generating more livelihood opportunities even in the countryside particularly with tourism.
“We also have to conduct counter-rally to let the people know na mali yung kanilang mga paniniwala na ang gobyerno ay di gumagawa ng pamaraan na ma end ang ating kahirapan, ma end ang ating unemployment. Marami na tayong gains under the leadership sa ating pangulo,” he said.
There have been alleged attacks made by the NPA in the past months but Cabal noted that these remained as speculations and unconfirmed as offensives by communist guerrillas.
He described the presence of armed groups in the province as “very manageable” saying that some leaders of the NPA in Bohol who have fought in other provinces which have rebel strongholds merely returned to the their hometowns due to “old age.”
“Very manageable naman hindi katulad ng Negros, ng Leyte ng ibang lugar,” said Cabal. “Ang Bohol ay ‘wag naman sana nila guluhin. Hindi papayag si Governor Art Yap na magkaroon ng kaguluhan dito.” (AD)