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Former rebels plead for gov’t protection

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

As the peace agreement between the KAPATIRAN, formerly known as the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Mangagawa Pilipinas, Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPM P RPA ABB) is now on final phase of implementation, its leaders are asking the government to protect its resettlement sites in Negros Occidental.

Alan Gozon, KAPATIRAN secretary general, yesterday disclosed that 13 of their leaders have been assassinated by the New People’s Army after entering into peace agreements with the government in year 2000.

Among them was Arturo Tabara, former secretary of the defunct CPP Visayas Commission, who broke from the mainstream rebel group, and formed the RPM P and its armed wing, the RPA ABB with Carapali Lualhati, nom de guerre of Stephen Joseph Paduano, now the Abang Lingkod party list group representative.

We are asking the government to allow the putting up of a community defense unit to protect our community, Gozon said

Prior to the demobilization of RPA ABB combatants in 2019 as part of the peace agreement, Veronica Tabara, KAPATIRAN president, recalled that NPA rebels attacked their resettlement sites in Brgy. Locotan, Kabankalan City, where three of its members died.

Veronica, the widow of Arturo Tabara, known as Ka Inca when she was still a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee, said that the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, declared them as their “enemy” for cooperating with the government.

“It is true, but for peace and development,” she admitted.

Tabara said the policy of the CPP-NPA now is to wipe them out by targeting their units and leaders.

She also reported that more of their leaders are now also under surveillance by the Special Partisan Units of the NPA.

This was also confirmed by Gozon, who also served as chairman of the Democratic Association of Labor Organizations, that he received information since April this year on the deployment of suspected NPA assassins in Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City, where he resides.

Paduano, who used to be the RPA ABB national commander, is also a resident of the barangay.

From May 6 to 11, Gozon reported the visit of unidentified persons at his residence, wearing helmets despite the extreme heat, while others are wandering near his residence, based on the testimonies of his neighbors.

While we are also vigilant, Tabara said they are asking the government to help them in the protection of their lives.

By killing us, they want to project that there should be no serious peace talks with the government, as the CPP NPA vowed to overthrow the government, through a People’s Protracted War, she stressed.

Of the 727 former RPM P RPA ABB members, more than 450 reside in Negros Occidental.*

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