The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urges local government units (LGUs) that declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) as persona non grata “not to succumb to the terrorist group’s threats and remain steadfast” in the government’s drive to end armed conflict in the country in the face of growing threats from communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
“Huwag tayong papasindak sa kanila. That’s exactly what they want and have been their mission, to sow fear among Filipinos through their illegal acts,” DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said.
“We have a committed ally in no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. Now is not the time to fear; now is the time to take a stand against these CTGs to show them that we will not be a party to their plot against the government and our democratic way of life,” Sec. Año said.
According to Año, Mayor Romy Salvame of Taytay, Palawan confirmed that “he and other town officials have received death threats from the NPA” after passing a resolution in May 2019 declaring the group as persona non grata in the town.
In a statement posted on its official website, the Salvador Luminoso-Bienvenido Vallever Command based in Palawan said that they “will punish the municipal officials of Taytay” and other LGUs which had passed resolutions declaring the NPA as persona non grata.
“What Mayor Salvame and the LGU of Taytay experienced was a clear testament that the NPA will go to great lengths to wreak havoc and fear among our people,” Año said.
The DILG Chief said he commends the Taytay, Palawan LGU for not retracting their resolution and ‘sticking to their guns’ despite the brash threats from the CTG.
“Sa kabila ng pananakot ng NPA, nanatiling buo ang kanilang loob at ito rin ang inaasahan at hinihiling natin sa ibang mga LGU na nagdeklara ng persona non grata sa NPA,” Año said.
Año assured LGUs that local units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are ready to provide additional security to threatened local officials and intensify security measures in their areas.
“Huwag po kayong mag-alala. Handa ang ating kapulisan at military na protektahan kayo. Kakampi ninyo sila at ang buong komunidad,” Año said.
Año also pushed for other LGUs to declare NPA persona non grata in their localities to send a strong message to the enemy.
“Gaya ng patuloy naming sinasabi, hindi ito kaya ng pamahalaan mag-isa, kailangan namin ang tulong ng mga pamahalaang lokal at mga mamamayan kasama na lahat ng stakeholders,” Año said.
Records from the Armed Forces of the Philippines show that at least 270 local government units in the country have already declared the NPA persona non grata in their respective localities through Sanggunian Resolutions.
Of the 270 LGUs that have made their stand against the atrocities of the Reds, nine are provinces, 29 are towns, 241 are barangays, and one is a city.
“Unti-unti ng lumiliit ang mundo ng mga NPA dahil mismong ang mga komunidad na ang nagtatakwil sa kanila. Sa mga susunod na araw ay dadami pa ang bilang ng LGUs na makikiisa sa kampanya para sa kapayapaan at para tuldukan ang ilan taon ng panlilinlang ng mga CTGs,” Año said.
The DILG Secretary said the Department will continue to be persistent in achieving President Rodrigo Duterte’s goal of eliminating local communist armed conflicts while encouraging CPP-NPA rebels to lay down their arms to become productive members of the society.
“Basta katuwang ng gobyerno ang mamamayan sa daan tungo sa kapayapaan, siguradong mawawakasan na ang problema natin sa mga CTG,” Año said.
In 2019 alone, a total of 425 former rebels from all regions in the country laid down their arms and were granted financial assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program with a cumulative amount of P28-million, mostly allotted to livelihood assistance.
“Hindi tayo titigil, lalo na ngayong buo ang suporta ng Pangulo tungo sa pangmatagalang kapayapaan sa ating bansa. Nakakatuwa din na kasama natin ang mga LGU dito sapagkat parami nang parami ang nagdedeklara sa mga rebeldeng ito bilang persona non grata sa kanilang mga lokalidad,” Año said. (DILG)