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Former rebels, students support ELCAC, join peace rally

TACLOBAN CITY February 28 (PIA) -- In time for the 36th Commemoration of the EDSA People Power Revolution on February 25, some 260 former rebels and students joined a peace rally in front of a fastfood restaurant, along Rizal Avenue in this city.

Held simultaneous with other provinces of the region, the said activity was aimed to condemn the atrocities made by the CPP-NPA, and likewise seek justice for their victims.

The peace rally carried the theme, "Kusog han Katawhan Kontra Terorismo, Nagkakaurusa Para Hustisya Ngan Kamurayawan" (People's strength against terrorism, united for justice and peace).

Participants of the indignation rally were members of the Integrated Peace and Development Workers Association (IPDWA) composed of former rebels from Tacloban City and Carigara, Leyte, and students who are members of the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) group of Tacloban City.

Former member of the CPP-NPA, Napoleon Escalona during the said rally, said they did not hold the rally to sympathize and celebrate the Edsa People Power Revolution, but rather a manifestation of thanksgiving for their freedom from the bondage to the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“Kaming mga tebel returnees ay nandito ngayon hindi para makisimpatiya sa Edsa People Power Revolution, kundi ipinagdiriwang namin ang araw na ito sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasalamat na nakaalis na kami sa kamay ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” Escalona said.

He added that it has been a long time that they have suffered from the controlling powers of the terrorist groups.

“Matagal na panahon po na diniktahan nila ang aming mga kilos at isipan,” he said.

Escalona likewise expressed his gtatitude to Presdident Rodrigo Duterte’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) program, as according to him, ELCAC is the right solution the President has implemented in efforts to stop insurgency and terrorism in the country, of which they were able to realize the positive consequences and benefits they have gained from the program.

“Nakita po kasi ni Pangulong Duterte ang tamang resulta, at ito po ang nakitang tamang solusyon ng Pangulo para wakasan ang insurhensiya o terorismo  sa buong bansa,” the former rebel said.

Escalona also called on the rebels to be united and return to the folds of the law.

"Sa mga hindi pa bumababa mula sa kabundukan, huwag ninyong pairalin ang pride dahil alam kong napipilitan na lamang kayo.  Magkaisa kayong lahat, bumaba kayo at makiisa sa gobyrerno, dahil hindi po solusyon ang pagdala ng armas para labanan ang gobyerno at  para makamit ang hustisya,” he said.

Escalona hopes the next Philippine President would continue implementing the ELCAC program as the right solution to dismantle the CPP-NPA-NDF. (LDL/GTT/PIA-Leyte)

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Gemma Tabao

Information Officer III

Region 8

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