THE Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division reported that around 7,000 former fighters, local militia members, supporters and sympathizers of the underground organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) participated in the peace rally held in various areas in Davao Region.
Captain Jerry Lamosao, head of the Public Affairs Office under the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said their respective units reported around 3,000 rallyists assembled in Mati City, 1,906 in Tagum City, 1,000 in Compostela Valley province, 700 in Davao City, 700 in South Cotabato, and 362 in Banay-Banay town in Davao Oriental.
The rallies, which started simultaneously at 8 a.m., were held in Rotary Plaza in Tagum City, Davao Oriental Capitol in Mati City, Town Center in Compostela, Rizal Park in Davao City, and Town Center in Surallah in South Cotabato.
During the assembly, Lamosao said the religious leaders opened the half-day activity with ecumenical prayer then talked about peace, with the local government units (LGUs) and authorities in cities and provinces, tribal leaders and peoples organizations before the participating public.
"Selected former NPA rebels also shared their real-life sufferings under the communist group and have seen the present government's sincerity to help them achieve peace and development. With this, they are encouraged to go back to the folds of the law and live with their families whom they have abandoned for a long time," Lamosao said.
The division also noted 33 encounters since 2017 that yielded 56 firearms, 10 rebels killed, 63 improvised explosive device (IED) recovered, 48 enemy encampments discovered, 90 firearms surrendered by the NPA supporters, 27 rebels captured including a barangay chairman who possessed firearms from an NPA member.