FORT Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija -- Army chief Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto yesterday questioned the sincerity and intentions of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), if they are really serious in pushing this long-stalled peace talks with the government.
“Sa panig po ng gobyerno, nandoon po ang sinseridad, nandoon po ang magandang intensyon niya. Ngayon, ganoon din ba ang intensyon ng kabilang panig? So kung walang magandang intensyon ’yung kabilang panig (CPPNDF-NPA) na gagamitin lamang ang peace talks para sila ay magpalakas, mag-organize at mag-recruit pa, hindi na magkakaroon ng magandang resulta ang peace talks, kasi ang intensyon ng kabila ay hindi maganda,” explained Alberto during a brief interview with newsmen yesterday.
The former top military spook-turned-Army chief flew to this camp yesterday morning, his first visit to an Army camp since assuming the top Army post last October.
During his visit, Alberto, who took over from erstwhile Army chief Lt. Gen. Joselito Bautista last Oct. 15, was given a battalion-size arrival honors by the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division headed by commanding-general Major Gen. Filemon T. Santos Jr.
Alberto also went to the Fort Magsaysay Army Station Hospital where he visited two recuperating Army soldiers who were wounded in action during a recent encounter with NPA rebels in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, earlier this month.
At the FMASH, the Army chief personally pinned the medal of wounded soldier to Pfc. Dennis D. Tara, of the 91st Infantry Battalion, and Sgt. Alexis S. Baltazar from the 84th IB. Both wounded soldiers were also given cash aids by Alberto, enclosed in small brown envelopes.
After which, Alberto met “Joseph,” an NPA surrenderer also recuperating at the FMASH. “Joseph”, who was wounded in a clash with government troops recently, was the latest addition to the growing number of disgruntled ex-rebels who abandoned the armed struggle due to false hopes and promises of their rebel comrades to return to the folds of the law to be able to live a normal life anew.
Alberto presented “Joseph” and a former NPA amason named Ka Rose (Rachel Galario), who was arrested earlier along with three other NPA amasons and who also availed of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), where the former rebels are given financial aid and livelihood training in preparation to their re-integration into mainstream society.
Rachel was presented to the media by the Army chief while carrying her two-month old baby girl. Rachel’s daughter was born in Rizal, Nueva Ecija and her father is named Allan, an active NPA squad leader, Rachel herself, revealed during an interview with mediamen.
In presenting the two ex-rebels, who turned their backs against the rebel movement, Alberto stressed that this proves the government’s show of respect for human rights and its sincerity in helping out those ex-rebels who were misguided and enticed in joining the armed struggle and now would want to reform and live a normal life.