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.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed concern over the plight the missing students who were allegedly recruited by activist group Anakbayan.
PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde fears the missing teens could have joined and have started training with the New People’s Army (NPA).
If that’s so, Albayalde said those students would be in danger if conflict escalates between government forces and the leftist group similar to what happened to a student of the University of the Philippines (UP) who was killed in an encounter.
“Ang ikinakatakot natin dito, baka ito ay nasa bundok na, (We fear that they had gone to the mountains),” Albayalde said.
“Baka madamay ito sa sinasabi na naman na sa engkwentro (They might get caught in encounters) between AFP-PNP and the rebels, tapos sila maging biktima, tapos sasabihin na naman nila (and become victims which [critics] would note as) a human rights violation,” he noted.
The PNP Chief challenged members of Anakbayan to face the parents of the missing students and give light to the issue.
Abayalde urged the activist group to explain where the students were and what could have happened to them.
“Bakit di nila sagutin isa-isa ang sinasabi ng mga magulang kahapon? (Why didn’t they answer each of the allegations made by the parents yesterday?)” the PNP Chief noted.
“Iyon ang challenge natin sa kanila, sagutin nila at sabihin nila kung nasaan ‘yung mga anak ng magulang na umiiyak at nagdadalamhati? (That’s our challenge to them, answer the grieving parents and tell them where the students are),” he added.
The PNP accused Anakbayan of exploiting minors because the missing students are still in their teens.
Albayalde said he supports the idea of deploying policemen in schools to prevent the leftist group from recruiting students, though school administrators are skeptical about it.
“Some of this campuses they don’t like uniformed personnel. Alam ninyo naman meron silangautonomy (As you know, they have autonomy),” he noted.
“This is a government property and yet di pwedeng pasukin ng ating mga law enforcers (our law enforcers are not allowed to check),” he added. – with details from Lea Ylagan
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