MANILA The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday condemned the killing of a member of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) participating in the Brigada Eskwela program in La Paz, Agusan Del Sur by alleged New People's Army (NPA) members.
Citing reports from the Philippine Army, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. AAo said Felipe Amado, 42, was participating in the Brigada Eskwela activity at the Lydia Elementary School last May 30 when he was murdered by five NPA members along the ComotaLydia Village Road in the town of La Paz.
Offduty from his CAFGU obligations, Amado and a companion were on board a motorcycle and was heading back from the village after getting nipa leaves to be used for the construction of a temporary classroom when they were targeted by the armed men.
"The victim was doing his share for the Brigada Eskwela program when he was shot. Talagang wala ng pinipiling pagkakataon ang NPA basta makapatay lang ng puwersa ng gobyerno (The NPA indeed does not choose an occasion just to kill government forces). Acts like this are typical of a classic NPA move, right on their lane, in their playbook," AAo said in a media release.
The Brigada Eskwela, led by the Department of Education, brings together all education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort, and resources to prepare public school facilities annually for the school year in June.
AAo said the killing of the CAFGU member is a total disregard for life and "clearly demonstrates NPA's lack of genuine aspiration towards lasting peace for the Filipino people."
"Paano ka naman maniniwala na ipinaglalaban ng NPA ang kapakanan ng ating bansa kung walang awa nilang pinaslang ang kababayan natin na tumutulong sa Brigada Eskwela? Ganyan ba ang sinasabi ninyong kapayapaan? (How can you believe that the NPA is fighting for the welfare of our country when their members mercilessly kill a fellowman who is helping in the Brigada Eskwela? Is that the peace your talking about? ), he said.
AAo also called on the NPA rebels to surrender and wake up from their hallucinations and a twisted ideology to join the people and the government in the march towards a better Philippines.
Hindi pa huli ang lahat. Gumising na kayo mula sa bangungot at sumuko na kayo. Kung talagang mahal ninyo ang bansa, bumaba na kayo sa kabundukan at makiisa sa gawaing pangkapayapaan (It's not too late. Wake up from your nightmare and surrender. If you truly love your country, go down from the mountains and unite in peaceful undertakings), he said.
He urged NPA leaders to engage with their local chief executives for localized peace talks, which are the government's way of reaching out to them and helping them lead peaceful lives.
We have not lost hope on you (NPA). Naligaw lang kayo ng landas at nilinlang ng mga kapartido ninyo. Tutulungan namin kayong bumalik sa pamilya ninyo at magbagongbuhay (You only lost your way and your comrades deceived you. We will help you to return to your families and have a better life), he said.
AAo said the government's Expanded Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) grants former rebels or their qualified beneficiaries to a wide array of benefits ranging from guaranteed safety and security and monetary assistance such as PHP15,000 immediate assistance, PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, PHP21,000 reintegration assistance, firearms remuneration for their turnedin firearms, and legal and housing assistance, among others.
As of March 1, 2019, a total of 1,705 former rebels from all regions in the country received ECLIP financial assistance with a cumulative amount of PHP192 million. (DILG PR)
Source: Philippines News Agency