Cagayan, Philippines – Around 44 families from Sitios Tagcar and Cabungag in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan were forced to leave their houses on February 9, 2022, after being harassed by members of the New People’s Army.
The harassment and intimidation came when members of the said families rejected to join their movement.
In a report released by the 5th Infantry Division, it was on February 9 this year that these families went to hide from the rebels at the riverside in Barangay Isca, Gonzaga. Four days later, on February 13, they were rescued by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Sta Teresita.
As narrated by one of the victims who was hidden under the name ‘Noel’, they didn’t want to join the Communist Terrorist Group. He added that he once allowed the NPA to use him due to fear, but this time, he wants to protect his family.
“Minsan na rin po akong nagpagamit sa mga NPA dahil sa takot ko sa kanila. Pero ngayon po, nagdesisyon akong poprotektahan ko ang aking pamilya laban sa kanila. Kaya nagpapasalamat din ako sa ating kasundaluhan na lagi pong nandyan at nakaagapay sa aming mga nasa liblib na lugar,” he was quoted saying in the report.
Noel further narrated that they had to run away due to the harassment they were experiencing from the group in order to protect their families.
“Pinipilit po kami ng mga NPA na sumama sa kanila. Tinatakot nila kami at hina-harass,” he said.
Meantime, through the Whole-Nation-Approach, the DSWD Region II facilitated the distribution of family food packs and cash assistance to the 44 families this Valentine’s Day with the help of the LGU Sta. Teresita, 98th Infantry Battalion, and the 501st Infantry Brigade.
Focused military operations were also launched by the government troops against the CTGs. The displaced residents will be staying at the billeting area until their places were cleared.
Army assured tight security
Meanwhile, 98th Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Gallangi, who thanked the 44 families for having the courage to run away from the CTG, assured that the troops will provide them tight security to keep them from possible danger.
Major General Laurence Mina, the Commander of the 5th Infantry Division, has also warned the rebels to stop involving civilians in their advocacies and interest.
“We value the lives of everyone. So, I am warning these members of the CTGs to return to the folds of the law. If not, we will hunt them down and make them pay for their atrocities. We will end their atrocities against the people. We will protect our people at all costs,” Mina stressed.
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