BANGUED, Abra – The unified Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) warned the Office of the President and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) into dealing with purported leaders of the organization who had either been dishonorably dismissed or those with questionable reputations which might result to demoralization and open up healing wounds of the past.
Unified CPLA chairman and Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as revealed that there are some former CPLA leaders who are alleged misrepresenting the group with the OP and OPAPP and lobbying for the supposed reactivation of the disbanded Cordillera bodies when it is not the position of the majority of the members who actively joined the unification of the feuding factions last June.
“We call the attention of the people behind the move to confuse the government on the stand of the CPLA on pressing issues affecting the region not to muddle the issue because it is clear that the unified CPLA supports the official stand taken by the Regional Development Council in the Cordillera that we should all work for autonomy towards federalism. We did not sanction the acts of former CPLA leaders with questionable reputation to represent the group in lobbying with the government for programs and projects that will be to their own personal and political interests,” Balao-as stressed.
The Abra official claimed that it is unfortunate that the former CPLA leaders are now trying to ride on the gains of the region’s policy-making body in the region’s renewed quest for autonomy when they actually did nothing when the matter was being revitalized in the barangay, municipal, city, provincial and regional levels over the past eleven years when the RDC-CAR embraced autonomy as its over-arching agenda to speed up the development of the remote communities around the region.
According to him, some of the former CPLA leaders who are now claiming to be federalism advocates had been declared persona non grata in some places in the region because of their alleged involvement in the proliferation of squatting and land grabbing activities while some of them manifested their intention to join the unification process but they are now seemingly abandoning their commitment.
Balao-as pointed out that what the unified CPLA is supporting is the peace initiatives of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the region’s renewed quest for autonomy to give credence to what the CPLA stalwarts had been fighting for over the past several decades and for the recognition of the over 7,000 legitimate CPLA members who had been disregarded when the previous administration entered into the questionable closure agreement with self-proclaimed CPLA leaders then that resulted to the creation of the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development (CFPD) which is a supposed socio-economic development group that was a recipient of multi-million worth of soft and hard projects from the OPAPP over the past several years.
He emphasized the group does not intend to create trouble because it is in violation of the Manabu peace agreement that was signed by government and military representatives with their CPLA counterparts in December 1986 and ever since the group never violated its provisions to date, thus, it will adhere to the peaceful settlement of whatever conflicts that will arise in the present times. By HENT