Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Tedoro, Jr. criticized the communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for fighting for an ideology and a cause that had never been realistic right from the start.
Teodoro, who was the guest during the regular meeting of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPO\C) in the Cordillera Friday, pointed out that the government will not hesitate to flex its muscles within the bounds of the law to thwart whatever attempt of the communist rebels to wreak havoc to disrupt the peace and order situation in various parts of the country.
The DND official also welcomed to the folds of the law two former NPA rebels who had been part of the NPA Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Party Committee who earlier surrendered to authorities and will be provided with the appropriate government assistance under the Expanded Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) for them to start a new lease in life.
“All the chances were given to the CPP-NPA. In the past administration, they were even given Cabinet positions, yet what happened? Now, whose fault is it if a community is displaced, is it the government or the NPA?; Secretary Teodoro quipped.
Further, he also questioned why are the NPAs in the communities in the first place that lead to the displacement of communities when there are encounters between the communist rebels in the military.
According to him, the approach being adopted by the government is through a localized peace process where all the operations of the armed forces are closely coordinated with the local authorities.
Secretary Teodoro asserted that the blame should be with the NPA if there will be displacements of communities because they should not be there in the first place.
“I will not accept the blame. I will not accept that the enforcers of the law are to blame for the displacement of communities which are caused by the NPA. Let us call a spade a spade. They have no business being there, he stressed.
He also criticized the CPP-NPA for allegedly using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in their combat operations despite being prohibited by existing treaties which is an indication of their desire to overthrow the government with a cause that was never such in the first place.
The DND Secretary encouraged the remaining communist rebels to come back to the folds of the law before it will be too late because the government will surely go after them at all cost to achieve lasting peace in the country and to free the communities from their influence of the wrong ideology that had been imparted to them.
Teodoro asserted that there is no looking back for the government because it had already significantly gained in neutralizing the presence of the NPAs in most parts of the country and that aggressive government operations will continue until such time that the remnants of the communist movement will be eradicated either through their giving up to the authorities or through enhanced and aggressive operations in their areas of existence.
The Secretary emphasized that there will be no looking back for the government in its desire to neutralize the presence of the NPAs in certain areas in the country because what people want is for them to be able to live peacefully in harmony with nature.