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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, March 15, 2012
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‘End to violence’ rally
in Cauayan today

About 2,000 people are expected by organizers to attend the peace rally today in Cauayan, Negros Occidental, with local government officials among the participants.

The staging of the peace rally was due to the recent ambush-slay of Army 2Lt. Jose Angelo Esguerra, who, with his troops, was on peace and development work in the hinterlands of Cauayan, Major Antonio Tumnog, commander of the 3rd Civil Military Operations Battalion, said.

Tumnog said Mayor John Rey Tabujara will lead town officials and his constituents in calling for an end to violence in Cauayan.

Before the ambush of Esguerra, the military recorded several violent incidents allegedly perpetrated by the NPA, including the assassination of former rebels and civilians suspected to be government informants, in the past several years.

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has deployed and mobilized nine Peace and Development Teamsto help local government units in identifying solutions to problems of conflict-affected communities in the hinterlands of Cauayan .

Esguerra was among the PDT members deployed in the far-flung areas of Cauayan.

Tumnog said various religious and youth organizations, the academe, barangay officials, women’s groups, among others, have signified their intention to join the peace rally.

Colonel Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, described Esguerra as a “hero”.

“He (Esguerra) was here to assist us in the peace and