Gov’t upholds ‘no negotiation policy’ as kin call for abducted soldiers’ release

Marje Pelayo   •   January 29, 2019   •   1774

Members of the New People’s Army | Photo courtesy of Kodao Phils.

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has intensified its pursuit operations against members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Sur who abducted government troopers on December 19, 2018.

Two active soldiers and 13 members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were kidnapped by the communist rebels in the town of Remedios Y Romualdez in the municipality of Sibagat last year.

Relatives of the victims continue to call on the government to facilitate the immediate rescue of their loved ones.

Magdalena Lamion, the daughter of one of the captives, Bienvenido Lamion, is worried about her father’s health and so she asks for their immediate release.

“Marami nang balita na sinasabing pinatay na raw. Nananawagan kami na tumugon sana ang gobyerno na pahintulutan sila na pakawalan na talaga sila,” the distressed daughter appealed.

“Tulungan ninyo na maka uwi ang aking anak,” Elena Cariño, the mother of one of the two soldiers,  called on President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement issued by Major General Ronald Villanueva, the Philippine Army 4ID Commander maintained that the military will uphold its ‘no negotiation policy’ with the NPA.

Nevertheless, the authorities are doing everything for the safe release of the captives. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Raymond Octobre)

LGUs urge Senate to revert NTF-ELCAC budget to original amount

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Several governors and mayors expressed dismay over the Senate’s decision to slash the budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that is supposed to be allotted to the government’s anti-insurgency program.

The Senate Committee on Finance cut the budget of the NTF-ELCAC from Php28-billion to only Php4-billion.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said he finds questionable the Senate panel’s statement that the NTF-ELCAC’s fund only duplicates that of programs being funded by local government units.

Yap insisted that the NTF-ELCAC programs in the remote areas, particularly the Barangay Development Program, are proven effective.

“Hindi po maintindihan ‘yong statement na duplication. Mayroon bang government agency na into infrastructure at development na bumababa sa barangay na together with mayors, provincial governor with Philippine Army and PNP together with local officials consulting with the people?” Yap said.

Yap added that the farm-to-market road projects of the NTF ELCAC made it possible for the government to reach those in the remote areas, halting the recruitment activities of the New Peoples Army (NPA).

Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, meanwhile, said that if the task force’s budget on the development of barangays is cut, its anti-insurgency projects will be delayed.

This, he fears, will pave the way for the return of the NPA in their area.

Ako naman po ay nakikiusap na huwag naman ninyong ipagdamot ang kapayapaan para sa bansang Pilipinas. Huwag naman nating ipagdamot ang mga pangangailangan na matagal nang minimithi ng ating mga kababayan na maangkin nila,” Dayanghirang said.

Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone, in the meantime, stated that lawmakers must not only focus their attention on COVID-19 response but also on insurgency which has long been the country’s major problem.

“Pero kung ‘yong pondo ay tatapyasin talaga at ilipat sa COVID para nga hindi sila maging masama sa tao […] Itong pandemic ng insurgency ay matagal na kasya COVID, sa totoo lang. More than 50 years we have been battling this major problem,” Evardone said. /mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

Alleged NPA rebels killed in Rizal part of Joma Sison’s ‘death squad’, DILG says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 5, 2021

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison

MANILA, Philippines – The five suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) killed in a shootout in Baras, Rizal in December 2020 were part of the death squads allegedly deployed by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.

Año said the slain group of rebels were deployed in Southern Luzon to assassinate top national and local government leaders, and police and military officers over “blood debts.”

“We can now confirm that the five NPA members killed in Barangay San Juan, Baras, Rizal were part of a death squad that was supposed to carry out the directive of Joma Sison to assassinate government and civilian leaders,” the DILG chief said in a statement.

“Isang tagumpay para sa atin na napigilan ang mga ganitong mga operasyon ng NPA lalo pa’t ito’y isang tuwirang pagbabanta sa buhay ng mga pinuno ng bansa at maging ng mga sibilyan,” he added.

The shootout allegedly occurred as government troops were about to serve a warrant of arrest against Antonio “Dads” Cule for frustrated murder charges issued by the Regional Trial Court branch 65 in Infanta, Quezon Province.

Cule was tagged as the finance officer of an NPA unit that collected revolutionary taxes in Southern Tagalog.

CPP Central Committee Information Officer Marcos Valduena earlier said that “there is a standing order for the NPA to form partisan teams to meet out punishment against enemy units and officers who have committed bloody crimes against the people.”

Año said Sison’s move to deploy communist death squads to urban areas “intends to bring the NPA’s reign of terror in the countryside to the cities. “The PNP and AFP will do its utmost to protect the people from these terrorists in sheep’s clothing. We will crush these urban terrorist cells before they can begin their reign of terror,” he said.

The DILG chief urged the Commission on Human Rights and even the so-called Makabayan Bloc to condemn the deployment of NPA death squads in urban areas to prove that they are truly not members or fronts of the Communist Party.

He said that assassinations perpetrated by the NPA Death Squads are clearly extra-judicial killing “which the CPP is now bringing to the urban areas after decades of perfecting armed terrorism in the mountains.”
Año said the supposed deployment of NPA partisan units is a “clear and convincing proof that the Anti-Terrorism Council did the right thing in designating CPP and NPA as ‘terrorist organizations.’”

“Ngayon ay hindi na nila maikakaila ang kanilang tunay na kulay at motibo. Sila ay mga terorista na kailanman ay hindi naghangad ng kapayapaan kundi ang maghasik ng kaguluhan, pumatay ng mga puwersa ng gobyerno, para pabagsakin ang gobyerno,” he said.

In the 1980s, the CPP-NPA first deployed its “sparrow units” in urban centers and murdered hundreds of policemen, military officers, and civilians in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, and other areas to speed up its protracted people’s war, sow chaos, and bring down the government, the DILG said.

Bayan Muna lawmaker condemns ‘desecration’ of daughter’s remains

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat condemned what she called a “desecration” of her daughter’s remains by the military.

Cullamat’s 20-year-old daughter, Jevilyn Cullamat was killed in an encounter between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Surigao del Sur.

The lawmaker reiterated that she respects her daughter’s decision to join the NPA but slammed the military for taking a photo of Jevilyn’s remains along with other paraphernalia recovered by soldiers.

“Mariin kong kinokondena ang ginawang pambabastos at pambababoy sa labi ng aking anak. Hindi siya bagay, hindi siya isang tropeo na ipaparada para lamang sa propaganda ng militar (I strongly condemn the desecration and disrespect toward my daughter’s remains. She is not an object or a trophy that will be paraded for military propaganda),” she said in a statement.

Kilusang Mayo Uno also condemned the “desecration of the dead” and has appealed to the media to stop posting the images.

“We appeal to the media to refrain from posting pictures of what is clearly the military’s desecration of the dead,” their statement reads.

Meanwhile, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NPA-ELCAC) has sent its condolences to Cullamat’s family.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also called on the other members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA to surrender to the government.

“The death of 22 year-old armed rebel Jevilyn Cullamat during an encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and government forces is a grim reminder of the effects of the fruitless armed coflict perpetrated by these communist terrorist groups,” he said.

“We call on our representatives in the Makabayan Bloc and all those who condone the atrocities committed by the NPA to denounce the divisive ideology that destroys lives and property,” he added. AAC

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