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

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019   •   496

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’s Año confident of Bantag’s competence to head BuCor

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

J/SSupt. Gerald Bantag

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has expressed confidence in the competence of J/SSupt. Gerald Bantag to head the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

In a statement on Thursday, Año welcomed Bantag’s designation as the new BuCor chief, saying he has the necessary professional experience, training and competence having served as warden of major city jails in Metro Manila and eventually as regioal director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).

“As a professional and career BJMP official, Bantag is innately familiar with the Philippine penal system and culture and, therefore, he does not need a long transition and he can immediately begin work to reform the systems in the BuCor,” the DILG chief said.

Año also believes that under Bantag’s watch, corrupt BuCor officials will have a hard time engaging in illegal activities.

“Sa tingin ko, mahihirapan siyang paikutan ng mga ilang tiwali sa BuCor dahil alam na niya ang mga sistema at kalakaran sa ating mga kulungan,” he said.

The DILG chief added that the designation of a BJMP career official to head the BuCor is a positive development for the country.

He also expressed hope that this will be beginning of real reforms that “we all have been waiting for in order to truly serve justice and maintain the integrity of our penal system.”

“I urge Bantag to judiciously exercise his mandate and inculcate into his new assignment the professional culture of the DILG,” he said.

“Remember, you are not only accountable to the President but the entire Filipino people who are shocked and disappointed by the irregularities in the BuCor. In the hands of the right people, the problems of the BuCor are not insurmountable. As always, the BJMP and the DILG are ready to support you in your enormous responsibility,” he added.

Bantag replaces Nicanor Faeldon who was dismissed by President Rodrigo Duterte for disobeying his order to stop the release of convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.

Clearing operations, not competition among local chief execs – Mayor Isko

Maris Federez   •   September 18, 2019

Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso

In just a little over a week, the 60-day period that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has set for the local chief executives to clean the streets of Metro Manila will come to an end.

But Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has admitted that they have a long way to go to completely clean the streets of the almost 900 barangays in the city.

“I’m not doing it for my fellow mayors, I’m doing it for the people of Manila,” he said.

Mayor Isko, however, stated that he is happy with the accomplishments of other cities in Metro Manila that have completed clearing their streets of obstructions.

 “I’m happy for them but this is not a competition among mayors,” he added.

The DILG, however, that no Metro Manila cities had been 100% compliant in clearing the streets.

Moreno admitted that several areas in Manila, such as Quiapo and Tondo, remain a big problem for him.

But he assured that he will not waver from his resolve.

“Whether mameet namin o hindi naman namin mameet, it doesn’t matter because we will continue.”

Moreno pointed to the lack of governance caused the return of the obstructions in some areas in Manila in the past.

The local chief executive, however, warned that he will file charges against the barangay officials who will fail to accomplish their tasks and submit the inventories of their areas of concern. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

Alleged ranking CPP-NPA official nabbed in Laguna

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – An alleged high-ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was arrested by the military and police in Laguna.

The military on Wednesday identified the suspect as Antonia Setias Dizon alias Tonet, 60, who allegedly serves as secretary of the national organizing department the CPP-NPA, as well as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which is the communist group’s political arm.

Dizon was allegedly designated to the post, replacing NDFP Consultants Rafael Baylosis and Adelberto Silva who were earlier arrested by the authorities for illegal possession of firearms.

The military said Dizon was arrested by virtue of a warrant for the crime of murder issued by Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur Regional Trial Court Branch 7.

They served the warrant on Dizon at her residence in a subdivision in Barangay Rosario in San Pedro, Laguna at past 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Itong si Dizon na ngayon na nahuli siya po yung pumalit kay Silva na kung saan nga po itong si Dizon ay may kasong murder na finile sa Agusan,” Capt. Jayrald Ternio, chief of the 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office told UNTV News in a phone interview.

Seized from Dizon’s residence were a caliber .38 pistol, some live ammunition, 10 blasting caps, two laptops and subversive documents.

The Laguna police believes Dizon’s arrest is a big blow to the communist group’s operations.

“May significant effect ‘yan with regards doon sa benepisyo ng grupo nila mga movement organizations resources financial lahat nasa liderato ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” Laguna police director Col. Eleazar Mata said.

Dizon is currently detained at the San Pedro police station. RRD (with details from Correspondent Sherwin Culubong)

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