VIGAN CITY, Aug. 13 (PIA) -- Members of a local peasant group who is allegedly influenced by a left-leaning group have renewed their support to the government in a simple ceremony held in Barangay Lucbuban, Salcedo, Ilocos Sur last week, according to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Castillo, the commander of the Army's 81st Infantry Battalion (IB).
Salcedo town Mayor Leopoldo Geronilla Jr. administered the oath of allegiance of the 19 members of the Timpuyog Ti Umili Ti Karayan Buwaya (TUKB) with the presence of Castillo and other local officials and army officers and enlisted men.
Castillo said the TUKB was reportedly influenced by the members of the STOP-Exploitation (STOP X) peasant group - a suspected legal front of the CPP-NPA-NDF operating in Ilocos provinces.
"However, the TUKB members have promised to support all the programs of the government, and they committed to avoiding any influence from the communist rebels," said Castillo.
Castillo expressed his gratitude to the local officials of Barangay Lucbuban and the municipality of Salcedo, and other stakeholders, who gave their support and were instrumental in the process of communicating with the members of the TUKB.
In a phone interview, Major General Lenard Agustin, the commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division, lauded the army's 81st IB for their initiative to strengthen the peoples' trust to the government.
Agustin said the initiative is one of the strategies to achieve the objectives of Executive Order 70, which is a whole of nation approach to end the local communist arm conflict (ELCAC) at the grassroots level.
"We must step-up our efforts in enlightening the members of any peasant organizations. We have to explain to everyone that supporting the armed struggle has brought nothing but senseless deaths and miseries to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, and destroyed the future of much Filipino youth," said Agustin. (AMB/FGL, PIA 1)