23IB Intensifies Campaigns Vs. CNT Extortions in MisOr

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A day after the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorists (CNTs) commemorated their 52nd founding anniversary, the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) intensified its campaigns to end the notorious extortion activities of the said terrorist group in the province of Misamis Oriental.

The 23IB troopers, working closely with the local government unit (LGU) of Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental conducted a two-day dialogue and consultation activities, locally known as “pulong-pulong” with the residents of Barangays Artadi, Candiis, Consuelo and Bonifacio.

The series of activities were part of the Critical Infrastructure Project Security Operations (CIPSO) efforts of the unit and the LGU concerned as infrastructure projects, such as the construction and concreting of the national highway are still ongoing in the said barangays.

The pulong-pulong also aimed to thwart the rampant extortion activities of the CNTs to the construction companies involved in the ongoing construction of the national highway, the business sector and to the local residents in the area.

Incidents in the past showed the brutality of the CNTs against companies and businesses that refused to give in to their demands. Millions worth of construction equipment were razed and destroyed by the CNTs that affected the operations of companies and hampered the completion of government development projects.

Defeating the insurgency by ending the local communist armed conflicts require the participation of the residents, as envisioned by Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70) issued by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Under the principle of the whole-of-nation approach, fighting the CNTs now involves, not only the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), but also the other line agencies of the government, and most importantly, the local residents.

Through the series of pulong-pulong activities, the 23IB effectively informed the residents in the five barangays of Magsaysay on their vital roles in promoting peace and development in their localities. The two-day activity also allowed the local residents to reflect on the benefits they will gain with the absence of the terrorist groups and the threats of armed conflicts.

Among the speakers during the activities was Kuya Amats, a former rebel (FR) who works with the 23IB in freeing more communities from the destruction of the CNTs.

“Kining mga lideres sa CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army), dili sila gusto og kalambuan tungod kay mao man kana ang ilang gigamit sa ilang mga propaganda. Ilang gitanom sa kasing-kasing ug huna-huna sa katawhan nga walay pulos ang gobyerno tungod kay wala kini nahatag nga kalsada sa mga mag-uuma. Apan kung aduna nay itukod nga kalsada ila dayon pangilkilan ang mga kontraktor busa halos dili na mahuman ang kalsada kay ila man dayon baharan nga dili pwede mag operate sa maong lugar ang kompanya kung dili maghatag og revolutionary tax sa kalihukan. Ila dayon pang sunugon ang mga dagkong ekwepo. Ang pinaka unang maapektuhan niini mao ang mga trabahante nga mawad-an og trabaho ug ang mga lomulupyo nga maglisod og hatod sa ilang mga produkto sa merkado kay wala may tarong nga kalsada,” Kuya Amats told the residents in the areas during the pulong-pulong.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C Paulo, the Commanding Officer of 23IB also emphasized the importance of the cooperation of everyone in ending insurgency during the said activities.

“For over fifty-two (52) years of CNT existence, they have been heartless in conducting atrocities, the burning of heavy equipments, killing of innocent people and extorting big amount of money not only to supply the needs of their movement but also to provide luxurious lives to their leaders,” Paulo said.

He added that residents, especially in remote areas are aware of the terroristic activities of the CNTs but have chosen to remain silent due to fear and intimidation.

“We in the government forces are doing our best to thwart their hostile plans but we can do it best with your cooperation. They should not be celebrating their anniversary anymore, because if they look back in the past years, they only sow terror in different communities and it is not considered as good accomplishments worthy to be celebrated of,” Paulo said.

In the last fifty-two (52) years, many people were deceived by the false ideology and hopeless advocacies of the CNTs that resulted in underdevelopment, poverty, and the loss of the lives of thousands of innocent civilians they killed.

“The hypocrite leaders of the CNTs even condemned the loss of lives of their members as they call them heroes. How can they be heroes when in the first place, these lawless combatants of the CNT victimize and kill the innocent and vulnerable people?” Paulo emphasized.

He also asked the residents of the five (5) barangays for cooperation by providing the 23IB with information on the whereabouts of the CNTs.

“Let us protect each other. We can also assure you that no more innocent lives will be lost, no more equipment burned, and no more extortion activities of the CNTs in your communities. Let us unite and benefit from the development that the government will bring to your communities,” Paulo said.

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