MANILA — Task Force “Balik Loob” head, Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo C. Mapagu, on Friday expressed outrage over the recent killing of two rebel returnees in Butuan City by Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists.
“The brutal killing of two former rebels from the Higaonon tribe — Reynante Lloren on April 18, 2019 and Joel Canatoy on April 23, 2019 by the CPP-NPA — is a clear message that the communist terrorists and their leaders cannot accept the thought of a better life for their former comrades, who have seen the futility of their armed conflict with the Filipino people and have chosen to return to their loved ones instead,” Mapagu said in a statement forwarded to reporters on Friday.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“Both FRs (former rebels), who have returned to the fold of the law last year, were awaiting the grant of benefits, assistance, and interventions under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which are being processed by various government agencies comprising the Task Force Balik-Loob,” he said.
Mapagu further noted that it is the ultimate act of cowardice and malice for the terror group to leave the rebel returnees no way out, when the latter just hope to live productive lives with their families as law-abiding citizens.
“We are appalled by the lack of humanity from the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) who have even gone as far as murdering their former comrades-in-arms in order to prevent them from rejoining mainstream society,” the defense official said.
Mapagu urged all active members of the CPP-NPA and former rebels, who are transitioning to a peaceful way of life, to be brave and remain steadfast in the pursuit of peace.
“The government, through Task Force Balik-Loob, is here to help you and we will never leave you behind,” he added. Priam Nepomuceno /PNA – northboundasia.com