CEBU CITY – The chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command (Centcom) on Thursday condemned the ambush by the New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) of two unarmed members of a peace advocacy group, calling it “traitorous and cowardly.”
Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan said in a statement that the Centcom “joins every peace-loving community in condemning the traitorous and cowardly attack committed by the CPP-NPA terrorists who mercilessly killed” the two unarmed civilians — Rolando Pornis and Jaime Cagatin, and wounded Michael Hinampas and Antonio Muring.
A police report said the victims were waylaid by six CPP-NPA members at the border of the villages of Aloha and Vambacay in Batuan town at around 4:30 p.m on Monday (April 26).
The victims who were members of the Sambayanan (Sentrong Alyansa ng Mamamayan para sa Bayan), a group of former rebels advocating peace in Bohol, were on board motorcycles on their way home to Carmen town after meeting with the village folks of Aloha.
Ancan said the attack on Sambayanan members “only revealed their true nature as terrorists and bandits masquerading in their schemes” as rebels fighting a lost cause for more than 50 years.
“While we commiserate with the grieving families and mourn the loss of our fellow peace advocates from Bohol, we shall see to it that the NPA terrorists responsible for this dastardly attack shall be brought to justice,” Ancan said. “The Central Command AFP fully supports the peace and development initiatives of our stakeholders, as we altogether unite as one, to put an end to this local communist armed conflict”.
Centcom, through the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, handed cash assistance to the bereaved family of the killed peace volunteers.
Gov. Arthur Yap visited the wake of Cagatin to condole with his family.
The Sambayanan, in a statement on Tuesday, said the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) are courting disaster as they continue their killing sprees.
“The wanton killings made by the NPA Sparrow Unit against soldiers, policemen, and civilians in both the cities and countryside triggered the phenomenal anti-communism movement in the country that eventually rattled the CPP-NPA-NDF to launch a senseless internal purging which ended with the reexamination and correction of itself (Ikalawang Dakilang Kilusang Pagwawasto or IDKP/Second Great Rectification Movement),” the statement read.
Sambayanan is a multi-sectoral alliance formed by former rebels and cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA-NDF who have returned to the fold of the law.
Their members are now pushing for genuine peace and development, in support of Executive Order (EO) 70 signed by President Duterte in December 2018.
EO 70 created the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)