28.8 C
Philippines
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

10:25 PM

28.8 C
Philippines
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

10:25 PM

Over 100 Bukidnon bikers join the nation’s Bike for Peace

CABANGLASAN, Bukidnon (PIA)—One hundred eighty-four cyclists from various towns and cities in Bukidnon gathered in Cabanglasan townhall and made a loud show of solidarity to express their outrage at the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) atrocities that killed the Absalon cousins in Masbate 40 days ago.

Cabanglasan town mayor Renante Inocando and Provincial Police Director Colonel Jun Mark Lagare led 184 cyclists on the 50-kilometer trip, exemplifying the need of community participation for peace.

The bikers traveled from the townhall grounds to Barangay Zamboanguita in Malaybalay, passing along seven barangays where resident-spectators flashed peace signs while waving posters condemning the CPP-NPA for the murders in Masbate.

“Personally, I enjoy biking with my children. As bikers—as civilians—the death of our fellow riders in Masbate should never have happened. Their goal would have been very simple. They had a good day riding their bikes around with their buddies. However, when a terrorist-planted device burst, the bikers were killed,” Inocando explained.

We all know that national football player Kieth Absalon, 21, was cycling with a team that included his 40-year-old cousin, Nolven Absalon, when a landmine exploded by the roadside in Masbate City on June 6. The Absalon cousins were killed, while Nolven’s 16-year-old son was injured.

The mayor explained that the “Sikad Alang sa Hustisya ug Kalinaw (Bike for Justice and Peace)” event is not a race, but was conceived in an effort to stir people’s awareness of the CPP-NPA’s brutalities.

Eye-opener

In a short ceremony before the bikers got off the grounds, former rebel Jennel Cabugsa aka Jasmine recounted her pains as a witness of CPP-NPA’s cruelties.

“We gather here today to denounce the NPA’s brutality. I strongly condemn the murder of the Absalons in Masbate. Terrorists felt that they would no longer be able to recruit kids, particularly those interested in sports. So, NPAs did kill the students in order to instill fear among young people’s groups,” Jasmine explained in dialect.

Recognizing the former rebel’s gory details, Regional Director Manuel Ordoña of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in Region 10 (NICA-10) said Kieth Absalon’s parents hoped his death would serve as an eye-opener for the people and the world that the CPP-NPA can harm even innocent children.

TF-ELCAC at work

Former rebel Armando Daluniag, likewise, urged everyone to withdraw their support for the CPP-NPA and join in the government’s efforts to end the killing of civilians. He urged his former comrades to surrender, live peacefully and productively, as he had done, since the government’s Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), he added, had been working hard in carrying out development projects in communities that had previously been neglected.

Assistant Regional Director Yvette Sunga of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), visibly pleased with the town’s support for the Bike for Peace event, emphasized that the people of Cabanglasan support the ELCAC’s mission to synchronize the government’s capabilities and resources in order to eliminate the CPP-NPA and, eventually, end insurgency in the country.

Building peace

Brigadier General Ferdinand T. Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade, announced just before the program ended that the event proves the people’s will to oppose terrorism by courageously exposing CPP-NPA atrocities. Indeed, he said, without Kieth Absalon’s knowing, he has risen to the ranks of heroes by once and for all declaring clearly that the time has come for the people to break niceties in dealing with communist terrorists.

As the ‘Bike for Justice and Peace’ event winds up, Mayor Inocando, the host, thanked the POINTY (Propelling Our Inherited Nation Through Our Youth) cyclists and all the participating biker clubs from Talakag, Lantapan, and Cabanglasan, as well as his fellow bikers from Malaybalay City and Valencia City.

“With so much going on around the country—the pandemic and the tragic murder of the Absalon cousins—this ride takes on new meaning. I hope this inspires people to start their own movements to show others that we are one; we are together in ending violence. To the DILG, NICA, AFP, media, and PIA, among other organizations that got together in peace-building to bring the country’s 53-year-old communist terrorist insurgency to an end, Daghang Salamat,” the mayor said. (RLRB/PIA-10/Bukidnon)