DILG stands by proposal to revive Anti-Subversion Law to end communism in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019   •   779

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is standing by its proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law to finally put an end to the communist struggle in the country.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the need to reimpose the law is “urgent, critical and inevitable,” if the people truly want to end this scourge of society.

Año stressed that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and its front organizations have been “for the past 50 years in an organized armed conspiracy to overthrow the duly-elected government not only by force or violence but also by deceit, propaganda, and other illegal means.”

The DILG chief said that it’s about time that we put an end to this conflict that has been bringing our nation down and has killed some 100,000 policemen, soldiers, government officials, and innocent civilians. 

“We wish to emphasize that our proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law is only for members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and all groups directly supporting it. It only covers the Communists who are actively working to overthrow the government through armed struggle and does not, in any way, cover legitimate dissent, political opposition, or similar groups,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

The Anti-Subversion Act or Republic Act (RA) No. 1700 was passed in June 1957 during the presidency of Carlos P. Garcia. It declared the CPP illegal as an organized conspiracy to overthrow the government for the purpose of establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime.

During the martial law period, RA 1700 was expanded through Presidential Decree (PD) 885 in 1976 and PD 1835 in 1981. These decrees made it a subversive criminal act to be affiliated with a group and attend a meeting or take part in any activity meant to overthrow the government with the open or covert assistance and support of a foreign power.

During the time of President Corazon Aquino, she issued Executive Order No. 167, series of 1987 repealing PDs 1835 and 1975 and reviving RA 1700. And in 1992, President Fidel Ramos signed RA 7636 repealing RA 1700. Subversion is no longer a criminal offense, but sedition remained a crime.

According to Año, the decision to repeal the law may have been a mistake because “the Communist movement gained momentum in many areas and it grew bolder with the support of legal front organizations in urban areas from where they derive logistics, funding, source of cadres, and other forms of support.”

“The repeal of the Anti-Subversion law was a demand of the CCP-NPA-NPF for the conduct of the peace talks in the 1990s. In good faith, the government acceded to those demands for the sake of peace. But instead of laying down their arms and joining mainstream society, the Communists grew bolder and used the democratic space accorded to them to regroup, organize, and mobilize,” he said.

The DILG Chief said that since the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law, the Communists have continuously rejected the government’s call for genuine peace for the past 50 years and have instead indiscriminately sowed terrorism across the country.

He said the CPP’s Constitution – which is available on the internet — categorically states that its goal is to overthrow our democratic, republican system using the weapons of “revolutionary armed struggle and the national united front.” 

Its program declares that this is to be done by building guerrilla fronts “to encircle the cities from the countryside… until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities.”

“It can’t be denied by anyone that the continued existence and illegal activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF constitute a clear, present, and grave danger to the security of the Philippine state,” Año said.

“If we revive the Anti-Subversion law, we will be able to dismantle the urban mass movement in the cities that fuels the armed struggle in the mountains. We will be able to stifle their so-called ‘legal front organizations’ that provides sustenance to the underground mass organizations. It will be the beginning of an inevitable end,” he added.

The DILG chief cited the continuous active recruitment of some 500 to 1,000 youth annually by legal Communist front organizations in schools and universities where some 50 to 100 of them become armed members of the New People’s Army.

Año said that all organizations providing support to the CPP-NPA-NDF must also be declared illegal and mere membership to these organizations should be a criminal act.

“Our present laws, the Revised Penal Code, and special penal laws only penalize the individual acts of communist terrorist groups while the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law would declare illegal the mere recruitment or membership to these illegal organizations. The Human Security Act is also deficient,” he said.

Año assured the DILG is ready to work with Congress “to craft such legislation that responds to the need of the times and places the necessary safeguards to ensure our constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms of association and free speech.”

Malacañang earlier said the proposed restoration of the Anti-Subversion Law needs more study while the Department of Justice believes amending and strengthening the country’s anti-terrorism law will suffice instead of criminalizing subversion again.

DILG says cops on ‘narco-list’ who opted to retire early not spared from probe, charges

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said that cops included in the narco-list who opted to file for optional retirement will not be exonerated from criminal charges if they are found to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Año made the statement Wednesday after some members of the opposition group slammed reports on the move of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to give the 357 cops included in the narco-list the option to retire early to reduce the cases for adjudication.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said he is open to optional retirement of police officers accused of having drug links to lessen the government resources that will be used when the adjudication begins.

He, however, asserted that the early retirement won’t clear the cops from allegations and that this is not an easy way out.

He added that any officer who initially availed of the early retirement option will be pursued if proven to be involved in the narcotics trade.

Gamboa recently met with most of the 357 cops and explained to them the process of the two-way adjudication to be initiated based on his request to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The process involves adjudication at the regional and directorial level for one week before the cases go to the national level which will handle the cases for three weeks.

Once all the cases are submitted to the Office of the PNP Chief, it will take three days for him to submit the results of the adjudication for approval.

Año said the 357 cops accused of having drug links should present proof to remove their names from the narco-list.

“Patunayan nilang wala silang kaugnayan sa iligal na droga. Nasa kanila ang burden of proof, iprisinta nila ang mga ebidensya na magpapatunay na wala silang kinalaman at kaugnayan sa iligal na droga,” he said.

The DILG chief said the evidence should be presented to four agencies handling illegal drug reports – the PNP, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Hanggang hindi nagkakaroon ng pagkakasundo ang apat na ahensyang ito, hangga’t hindi nila sinasabi ng ‘Okay na yan’, magpapatuloy ang imbestigasyon,” he said.

The narco-list is a consolidation of intelligence and other reports from law-enforcement agencies and still needs to be verified and validated. Aside from uniformed personnel, the list also includes local officials and judges as well as other personalities.

Once a complaint is filed, it can be validated within a month, Año said.

He also said that the final clearance will come from the President. 

“Gusto nating maparusahan ang mga may kaugnayan sa iligal na droga” Año said. “I commend PNP Chief Gamboa for having the courage in resolving this issue na matagal ng burden ng PNP. We need to deal with this para makapagtrabaho na nang matino ang ating mga pulis,” he added.

DILG tells LGUs to strictly ban tricycles from national highways

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered local chief executives to strictly enforce the ban on tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs on national highways.

In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this is part of the road clearing operations being implemented by the government.

The DILG chief stressed that tricycles and pedicabs have long been banned from plying major roads. These tricycles are also not allowed to even cross or make a U-turn on national highways.

“Local governments must review and modify tricycle routes according to the ban and are encouraged to include in their plans the construction of local roads or overpasses where the tricycles can operate,” he said.

The Philippine National Police will help local leaders enforce the ban, the DILG chief said.

Aside from enforcing the ban, Año also directed local government units (LGU) to create a tricycle task force that will draw up a tricycle route plan in their respective areas.

Through DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-036, Año said that each city and municipality tricycle task force should be separate from the tricycle regulatory boards to formulate or review its tricycle route plan.

The task force will be composed of the mayor as chairman, the chief of police as vice-chairman, while the Sanggunian’s committee chair on transportation or public safety, the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay, the head of the tricycle regulatory board, the head of the Department of Public Order and Safety, the planning and development officer, the head of the traffic management office, and the local government operations officer will be its members.

Representatives of the transportation department and its attached agencies will function as resource persons of the task force, while the head of the city or municipal legal office shall provide secretariat support.

The DILG Chief added that the task force should meet with stakeholders and rationalize all tricycle routes to enforce the ban, identify national roads within the jurisdiction of the LGU, and determine the present and proposed routes in view of drafting a tricycle route plan (TRP) within 30 days from the issuance of the memorandum.

He added that the TRP should include a schematic map of the location of tricycle terminals, the national highways and the portions thereof to be used by tricycles if there is no alternative route.

The installation of appropriate signages, marks for lanes and other safety features to guide all vehicles must also be detailed in the plan as well as create awareness among residents and motorists of new tricycle routes or portions of highways allowed to tricycles because of lack of alternative route; a color scheme or emblem for tricycles that ply a route traversing a national highway; and penalties for violators.

Non-compliance to the latest directive will warrant the issuance of a show-cause order, Año said. “Failure to provide a sufficient response shall be a ground for the filing of appropriate administrative cases pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code and other laws and policies,” he warned.

He also said that compliance with the trike ban order will form part of the assessment LGUs’ compliance to the implementation of the presidential directive on road clearing.

DILG tells LGUs public events may proceed but observe anti-COVID-19 measures

Robie de Guzman   •   February 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Local government units (LGU) may still organize and hold public gatherings, meetings and festivals despite the threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as long as all precautionary measures against the virus are strictly observed, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the implementation of the new policy follows the meeting last Friday of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which include the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The DOH earlier urged the public to refrain from going to crowded places and other public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Following DOH’s advise, some local government units have cancelled their scheduled festivals and other public events for this month.

“While they may continue with public gatherings at their discretion, we wish to remind the general public to wash your hands regularly, and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, colds, sore throat and fever appear,” Malaya said.

He also said that LGUs should strictly implement the guidelines, which include monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all their participants with hand sanitizers or 70% isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks, and providing wastebaskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes.

“If the LGU decides to push through with their public events, they should discourage those with cough, colds, sore throat and fever from attending and they should have medical personnel on standby for any eventuality. Moreover, they should closely coordinate with their DOH counterparts so that they are properly guided,” he added.

The DILG’s call comes at the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appeal to Filipinos to visit local tourism sites to help boost the country’s tourism sector amid the threat of novel coronavirus.

Duterte earlier said he is planning to travel around the Philippines as he assures the public that it is safe to visit the country’s tourism spots.

“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” he said.

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