CALUMPANG in Tayabas is so far away from General Luna, but even from here, I surmise that it isn't just the need to have a catchy slogan that General Luna town in Quezon is popularly called the Heart of Bondoc Peninsula.
Mayor Matt Erwin Florido governs with both the heart and the brain, to be sure, so that a day or two before the landfall in Luzon of tropical depression "Amang," his disaster relief personnel were already ready for any emergency. The municipal first responder readied themselves starting on the day "Amang" was to arrive, choosing not to go home and instead partake of some plain rice and "ginisang sardinas" for dinner.
Even under the rain, Mayor Florido "Withaheart" and Engr. Doms Villaruel inspected a site where a public comfort room will be constructed, a project of indefatigable Congressman Reynante Arrogancia who has been busy not only with legislative work in the House of Representatives but also the various construction and livelihood projects for his constituents in the third district of Quezon.
Another piece of good news from General Luna came from our good friend Danny Estacio, who reported that 134 members of underground movement organizations withdrew support from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front during a town ceremony on Tuesday, April 10.
One of the surrenderers is a regular member of the Milisyang Bayan under Platun Reymark of the Sub-Regional Military Area 4-B (SRMA) of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC). Forget the jargon, he is just a former Red fighter of the New People's Army (NPA).
Their surrender to the Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) headed by Mayor Matt Erwin Florido was witnessed by the Sangguniang Bayan headed by Vice Mayor Melaica Batariano, department heads, religious and youth sectors, and the 27 barangay chairmen.
Also present were the Quezon Police Provincial Office, 201st Infantry Brigade, 85th Infantry Battalion, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) 4-A, Philippine Coconut Authority-Quezon, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Lawyer Airha Kae Pornelda of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) processed the group's surrender to ensure that their human rights were not compromised nor violated.
The program of surrender coincided with the declaration that General Luna is insurgency-free. This town is the 20th in Quezon listed as no longer influenced by the communist insurgency. The local media in Quezon continue to report on the gains of the anti-insurgency initiatives of the government in their province, and this mass surrender program in General Luna is evidence of such trend.
It is now the job of the NTF-ELCAC to initiate projects for the livelihood of residents in General Luna barangays who previously fell prey to the promises and intimidation of the New People's Army.