Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander T. Pimentel. (Photo from the Facebook account of Surigao del Sur Gov. Ayec T. Pimentel)
BUTUAN CITY – Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander Pimentel has condemned the communist New People Army (NPA) for what he described as “dastardly killings” perpetrated by the rebels against the indigenous people (IP) leaders and tribe members in the province.
In a statement posted on his Facebook account Wednesday, Pimentel took note of the series of killings of Manobo tribesmen in the province last month, particularly in Tandag City and in the town of San Miguel.
“These dastardly acts are not only meant to silence and stifle the growing voice of resistance and opposition to the outdated communist ideology but also to instill fear, anger, and hatred in the hearts and minds of the people, particularly among our Lumad communities,” Pimentel said.
“Clearly, the NPA has retrogressed from an ideology-based movement to pure and simple terrorism and other criminal activities,” he added.
He also pointed out that NPA killings in the province were often done without provocation and the rebels are also into extortion activities, ambuscades, and the burning of equipment of companies engaged in development projects that give livelihood activities to the people, including the IPs in the area.
Pimentel said the ideology being espoused by the NPA is “fast losing support especially in communities where they are operating since the people have already realized that they are the very reason why their community remains to be mired in poverty because, without peace, prosperity and development will not happen.”
The Surigao del Sur governor also noted that the NPA’s rebellion has already lasted for over five decades and killed thousands of innocent civilians.
“Let us stop these senseless killings and instead support the Philippine government in its campaign for a better and prosperous life for all Filipinos,” Pimentel said.
Jawudon Jumar Bucales, the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Lianga town, supported the statement of Pimentel as he also denounced the NPA rebels for the series of killings in the area.
“This year, the communist NPA terrorists have gone into a killing-spree, victimizing IP leaders and members,” Bucales told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Thursday (August 13).
To cover-up the killings, Bucales said the NPA is also spreading lies in communities using their front organizations.
“The IPs are already tired of the CNTs (communist NPA terrorists) as they want to be free from their atrocities and harassments. Unfortunately, some of our leaders, while expressing openly of their opposition to the CNTs, were killed,” Bucales said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)