EDITORIAL - Keep the rebels out

EDITORIAL - Keep the rebels out

(The Freeman) - June 19, 2021 - 12:00am

More soldiers have been deployed to Cebu over concerns that the New People’s Army (NPA), the militant arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, may be trying to reestablish a foothold here.

In an interview with this newspaper, Army Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, group commander of the 3rd Civil Relations Group, said the 82nd Infantry Battalion from Mindanao has been deployed here to add to their forces.

“Kung dati isang kompanya lang ng 47th Infantry Battalion and nandidito and now naging isang full battalion,” said Martinez, who also said that there are also 500 Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) personnel added to that number.

While there are no solid reports that NPAs have been sighted here in Cebu, authorities said that based on the recent encounters in Bohol, they believe the insurgents may be planning to reopen a “front” in that island as well as here.

Cebu was declared free of the NPA in 2010, after a decades-long struggle with the insurgency.

During their heyday here in the ‘80s, ‘90s, and even the early years of the 2000s communist insurgents were brazen enough to raid police stations and even target and kill personalities they blamed for collaborating with authorities. Encounters between well-armed rebels and soldiers were also frequent.

Fortunately, it seemed that the improving economic and security situation of the province, as well as the growing understanding of the general populace that supporting communism will get them nowhere, eventually made it “too hot” for the rebels to stay in and they left.

Playing host to rebel forces is a not a path Cebu wants to take again, not with all the gains it has made from freeing itself of this malady, which is still a major concern in other parts of the country.

The insurgency thrives in areas where there is rampant social injustice and lack of basic services. Where people give tribute, food, personnel, or resources to anti-government forces out of fear.

If reports are true that insurgents are trying to rebuild their base here, then it is our job to make sure that this doesn’t happen. It is the duty of us all to make sure Cebu stays hostile to the rebels and their misguided ideology.

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