FORMER communist groups were assured that no crackdown will be implemented by the government, said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
Magalong, who is also the Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chairman, said during the fourth quarter joint meeting of the Regional Development (RDC) and RPOC that former rebels are welcomed in the city and the province of Benguet, which is considered as a peace zone.
“The crackdown will never happen here. I personally am giving the guarantee to them that here in Baguio, they are all safe and secured including their way going back. I will ensure that they will be back safely to the areas where they came from even if it would need my presence to accompany them back, nothing will happen to them,” Magalong said.
Magalong added that communist groups operating in the region have drastically been reduced compared to when he was still a lieutenant in the Philippine National Police.
“Being the chairman of the RPOC, we are offering a hand of peace to our brothers who are with the New People’s Army and we are just here in Baguio and you can contact me anytime and we are asking you to think of the situation now and we are ready to discuss with you on what government is doing,” Magalong added.
Dr. William Dar, who is the Agriculture Office secretary and Cabinet officer for Regional Development and Security in the Cordillera, said that there are 61 insurgency affected villages at present.
“We need to provide more socio economic and livelihood opportunities and mainstreaming the people in the countryside so that they will feel that they are a part of society. D.A. will actively do its part in providing socio economic activities, agricultural livelihood opportunities in the 61 barangays considered as insurgency affected, we will cover all,” Dar said.
These areas identified are now the focus of attention by the council and the national government which will be provided with the support through a whole of nation approach under the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.