TINOC, Ifugao – The Ifugao-based Nona del Rosario command of the New Peoples Army (NPA) slammed the reported re-tagging of mass leaders by police, military and concerned government agencies that tend to silence local officials and employees to the blatant violations committed by companies exploiting, developing and utilizing the rice natural resources of the region.
In a statement, the NPA command stated public and private sectors alike should draw the line between the NPA and civilians justly fighting for their right to protect the environment and their right to descent living.
“When members of the community fight for their land, life and resources, it does not mean that they are members of the NPA. That is their right and responsibility. Alternately, members of the NPA have pledged to serve the masses, one of which is to stand by them during their just struggles,” the statement stressed.
The command explained the distinction lies in the method of struggle wherein the people conduct their campaign through the legal mass movement while the NPA wages an armed revolution.
The statement cited instruments of the government, wittingly or unwittingly, do not recognize this dissimilarity coupled with the connivance of local governments with the armed forces to implement the counter-revolutionary plan ‘bayanihan’ and the civilian residents of Tinoc, Ifugao become ‘rational’ targets of liquidation which is supposedly a strategic move by the plundering companies and the police and military against the revolutionary movement.
According to the statement, the frequent red-tagging activities aim to weaken the peoples resolve to assert their rights and to push them to dissociate themselves from the NPA.
However, the NPA command warned that this will not be the case as suppressing them will only foil their determination to fight, alongside the NPA, which is their staunch ally and protector at all times.
The SN Aboitiz and the Quad River Company, a merger of Santa Clara, Inc. and Ayala Corporation, cursed most of the municipalities to accept the Tinoc hydro power project by promising road construction, electricity and other basic social services supposedly guaranteed by the government but actually withheld from the people.
Further, the command pointed out the companies conveniently forgot, if not obscured, the inevitable damage that these projects would cause, adding that when the latter learned that these companies would earn billions of pesos while the national minorities would get the proverbial mice share of the pie, obviously ‘consuelo de bobo,” the true owners retracted their agreement.
Ironically, the command stated the community does not hear any reaction, much less see any action, from local governments supposedly already familiar with them and instead, individuals from the said units and various line agencies tend to echo the propaganda against the already marginalized national minorities, in convince with the armed forces and the police.
The NPA command cited the silence of local government units is thunderous considering the escalation of political harassment against individuals from the indigenous peoples of Ifugao. In this remote municipality and elsewhere, malicious misinformation painted mass leaders to be extortionists or accomplishes to extortion, or vermin that disseminate ruin and disease among the people because they are members of the NPA.
However, the command stated most of the said individuals merely serve as the voice of the people and they oppose projects out to pillage their land, river systems and other resources they inherited from their ancestors and they will the bequeathe to their children and their children’s children as the minorities primary source of livelihood.
The Nona del Rosaio command asserted the mere circulation of untruths through the blackest of propaganda in the internet and through word of mouth, is not the aim of red-tagging and verification but only the approach to the objective. Rather, these lay the government’s basis to commit even more vicious violations against the people and that is the primary objective.
The command called on officials and employees of local governments to uphold their responsibility to the people and there will be as much blood in these individual’s hands once human rights violations in Ifugao take a far worst turn.
“They should not delude themselves into thinking that the national minorities are marching in step with the vast majority of the people, do not notice their complicity with the counter-revolutionary and anti-poor programs of the national government. The people’s national democratic war is advancing in waves and with it the political will of the people to assert their right to life and livelihood,” the statement underscored.
For so long, the government employed unforced disappearances, summary executions and other human rights violations to silence the people who voiced out their descent, red-tagging and verification may be just as fatal as the bullets fired from the present regime’s gun-wielding mercenary forces.
By Dexter A. See