BANGUED, Abra – The unified Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) vehemently denounced the alleged illegal collection of purported registration fees being done by some self-proclaimed federalism advocates from their recruits in the different parts of the region using the organization as their front for their clandestine motive.
Unified CPLA chairman and Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as underscored the organization never sanctioned certain individuals representing themselves as legitimate officials of the CPLA and demanding the payment of certain fees from their recruits in exchange for supposed uniforms, registration fees, among other reasons, to justify such collection.
“The unified CPLA should not be dragged into the issue of alleged extortion being done by the self-reclaimed federalism advocates who are now going around the region using certain dubious documents to mislead their recruits into believing in the legitimacy of their actions which are not sanctioned by the group and even government agencies. It is unfortunate that there are certain interest groups who want to derail our efforts to work together with the government in addressing major peace and order issues in the Cordillera because what they are after is their own personal interests,” Vice Governor Balao-as stressed.
The unified CPLA official called on the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera to make a concrete action on the matter because the illegal actions of the purported federalism advocates is significantly affecting the efforts of the region’s policy-making body in advancing the region’s renewed quest for autonomy while supporting the present administration’s bid to shift to federal form of government.
Balao-as disclosed that he was informed about the alleged illegal activities of the self-styled federalism advocates who are now going around the region campaigning for federalism when the government has not yet put in place the required legal foundation for the shift from the present unitary system to federal form of government that is why their actions are tainted with irregularities with the intention to mislead people into believing in their false promises.
Aside from registration fees and uniforms, the fees being collected from those attending the federalism discussions will allegedly be used to work out their supposed enlistment in the military or members of the government’s Bantay Gubat program which had reportedly attracted a good number of individuals from the countryside to join them.
The group that is making the rounds in the region campaigning for federalism is reportedly showing to the participants documents signed by Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace process Jesus G. Dureza stating that his office is endorsing the matter to the Office of Executive Secretary for presidential action.
Balao-as explained the contents of Secretary Dureza’s endorsement letter is self-explanatory that is why it is doubtful why the federalism advocates continue to use such letter to convince people to join them.
If the group claims that they have the following, Balao-as asserted that they should not resort to squid tactics just to be able to convince Cordillerans to join them but with what they are doing, it is certain that they are simply desperate in trying to gain public attention for their own personal interests.