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49 ang kumalas! Army sees weaker NPA sympathy in Capiz town

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The communist New People’s Army has lost at least 49 sympathizers in one of their strongholds in Cuartero town in Capiz province, the military said.

Last March 13, the ex-sympathizers took their oath of allegiance before police, military and local government officials in Sitio Tigpaka Daku in Barangay San Antonio.

Of the 49 ex-sympathizers, 10 are considered Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) members, 14 are local militiamen, and 25 are mass-based supporters.

Facilitating the oath-taking event was the Army’s 61st Infantry (Hunter) Battalion.

Witnesses included Ronald Guillermo, who represented Cuartero Mayor Tito Mayo; Superintendent Robert Petate, chief of the Capiz Mobile Force Battalion; and Senior Inspector Mary Grace Borrio, Cuartero police chief.

Lt. Col. Sisenando Magbalot Jr., 61st IB commander, said the oath of allegiance indicates the ex sympathizers’ abandonment of the communist group.

“They are unarmed and are used in gathering of information. Sometimes, they are called as NPAs by night, farmers by day,” he said.

He said the ex-sympathizers “were just deceived” but now realized that what they’ve told are nothing but empty promises.

The NPAs had used the local mass supporters as their eyes and ears for possible soldier sightings in the area.

Barangay San Antonio is one of the four villages where the 301st Infantry Brigade and 61st IB have been conducting Community Support Programs. The other three are barangays Carataya, Manguyod-nguyod, and Puti-an.

Last February, 60 mass-based supporters from Barangay Puti-an also took their oath of allegiance to the government and withdraw any support to the CPP-NPA.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina, 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division commander, said the development came after “the supporters have now finally come into a realization that the CPP-NPA terrorists is just using them for their selfish and bloody interests.”

“We are still calling on the remaining supporters to do the same to totally make the communist terrorist group irrelevant,” he said.