ILOILO CITY – The spokesperson of the Western Visayas Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) on Sunday challenged the militant human rights group Karapatan to condemn violent acts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) to show its sincerity in calling for justice and defending the people of Negros Island.
Associate Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, who is also chair of the Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of RTF6-ELCAC, in a statement slammed Karapatan for issuing “malicious and baseless claims” against government’s efforts to end local insurgency in the island.
Gonzales was reacting to the April 16 statement of Karapatan claiming that, “The declaration of MO 32, EO 70, has long since turned the Negros Island into a bloody killing field and the Anti-Terrorism Law has intensified the death sentence on Human Rights Defenders and community organizers in the region and in the country.”
He said the CPP-NPA legal front made “sweeping allegations” as it lacks evidence to back the “malicious imputations”.
“This is very characteristic of the nature of the propaganda narratives of KARAPATAN-Negros in their futile and desperate attempts to vilify and malign E.O. 70 and the sincere efforts of this government and the Filipino people to end the communist terrorist-led insurgency that has claimed thousands of Filipino lives over the past five decades,” Gonzales said.
Malacañang issued Memorandum Order No. 32 on November 22, 2018 for the deployment of additional troops in some areas including Negros Island to “suppress lawless violence and acts of terror” while Executive Order No. 70 institutionalized the Whole-of-Nation Approach (WONA) to end local insurgency.
Gonzales said instead of criticizing efforts of the government against the local terrorism and fabricating accusations that the government is behind extra-judicial killings (EJKs), Karapatan should first condemn the CPA-NPA-admitted assassinations of soldiers and civilians in the island.
He called on the group to join the government in ending local terrorism, which, for so long has inflicted harm and suffering to Negrenses.
“If KARAPATAN-Negros is sincere in their call for justice and in defending the people of Negros Island, by all means, condemn the atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA in Negros Island,” he added.
Gonzales said the communist terrorist group, CPP-NPA, owned the abduction and killing of a civilian in Negros whom they accused as a military informant, murdering two soldiers engaged in the community support program (CSP) and burning PHP15 million worth of construction equipment.
“To this date, we are yet to witness Karapatan-Negros raise its voice to condemn the atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA against the people of Negros Island,” he said.
Gonzales said Karapatan-Negros is silent in the recruitment of children who are being trained and used as child warriors by the CPP-NPA.
It is also silent when the special partisan unit (SPARU) of the CPP-NPA murdered “civilians by virtue of “datos” issued by the CPP-NPA kangaroo courts”.
“When the CPP-NPA burn private equipment and government owned properties as punitive action for non-payment of extortion money under the guise of “revolutionary taxes,” Karapatan-Negros is silent,” Gonzales pointed out.
Meanwhile, he called on the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) to exert all efforts to bring justice on the series of killings in the island in the past days.
The people of Negros are also encouraged to help law enforcement authorities in ensuring that Negros Island is a safer place to live, Gonzales said.
“Be one with us in putting an end to the local communist armed conflict,” he said.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)