LEGAZPI CITY— “We must give peace a chance and strive to put an end to the violence between the government and the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).”

This was the peace message of Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal delivered to the more than 600 youths, academe, representatives of government agencies including the Department of Agriculture-5, local government units, non-government organizations, partylist, religious community, uniformed units and other stakeholders participated in the Peace Rally spearheaded by the 9th Civil Military Operations (Kaagapay) Battalion with the theme “Sarong Lakaw Pasiring sa Katuninongan asin Kauswagan” on September 27, 2019 at the Peñaranda Park here.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Eric H. Culvera, the Peace rally will support the peace and development efforts of the government’s Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC); the Executive Order (EO) 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018 institutionalizes the whole of nation approach in ending insurgency; and promote awareness of the community regarding the terrorist groups of the CPP-NPA-NDF.  

Furthermore, he emphasized the need to bridge the gap between the government and its people by bringing basic government programs and services to the remote and far flung areas. He disclosed that there are 277 areas in the Bicol Region that are insurgency-affected and poverty-stricken areas.

The said event includes testimonies of rebel returnees; orientation on Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP); signing on the wall of commitment and the symbolic release of doves which represent peace.

In general, the rebel returnees shared their hard experiences and frustrations as former members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG). As beneficiaries of E-CLIP, they now lead a new and peaceful life. They urged the youths to be cautious and be fully aware before joining any organization. Brigadier General Peale Jon L Bondoc, AFP Assistant Division Commander of the 9th Infantry Division urged the attendees that “as Filipinos, we must be united in solving our peace and poverty problems by starting with our own family and our community.” (jaysonmgonzales)