TACLOBAN CITY – At least 1,513 villages in Eastern Visayas have declared the New People’s Army (NPA) persona non-grata in 2020, the Philippine Army reported on Friday.
The number represents 34 percent of the region’s 4,390 villages, said Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division chief of staff, Col. Perfecto Peñaredondo, in a press briefing.
“We want all villages to declare the NPA as persona non-grata this year for all our communities not to be influenced by the communist ideology,” Peñaredondo said.
All of the region’s six provinces, seven cities, and 136 towns have formally denounced the communist terrorist group in 2020.
The military official considers the support of local governments as a turning point in the battle against the NPA because the government has shifted from the military operations approach to whole-of-nation approach where all government agencies from national to local, including the private sector, work together to eradicate insurgency.
The declaration of local governments has contributed to the surrender of 2,754 NPA fighters and die-hard supporters in the region last year, according to the official.
“We also encourage villages in urban areas to pass a resolution declaring the NPA as persona non-grata since they are also the target for recruitment,” Peñaredondo added.
The formal rejection of local governments is among the key accomplishment of the local task forces on ending local communist armed conflict in 2020.
The formation of the task force operationalizes Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018.
The directive also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an inclusive and sustainable peace.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)