By Tracy Cabrera
An NPA cadre takes a rest, probably wondering when armed conflict triggered by deprivation and poverty would finally end. (Photo: The Renegade)
MANILA — Emphasizing his advocacy for peace and order and security, Partido Reporma senatorial bet former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar stressed the need for the national government to address the root causes of communist insurgency and armed conflict in the country.
Eleazar noted that ongoing insurgencies and rebellion against the government are mostly originating from widespread joblessness and desperation which have been of late more pronounced with the economic downturn caused by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and implementation of quarantine restrictions and lockdowns.
“Kung pag-aaralan mong mabuti, ang insurgency ay kadalasan nag-uugat mula sa kahirapan at kawalan ng hanapbuhay ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na iyong mga nasa malalayong lugar o lalawigan. Ang logic kasi d’yan e kapag walang hanapbuhay ang isang tao, minsan, nagiging desperado at saka naman darating iyong mga hihimok sa kanila na lumaban sa ating gobyerno kapalit ng tulong mula sa kanila,” the retired general rationalized.
“Halos nadurog na ng ating militar at kapulisan ang mga NPA (New People’s Army) pero nagagawa pa rin nilang makapag-recruit at dahil ito sa hindi naaabot ng ating pamahalaan ang ating mga naghihirap na mamamayan doon sa malalayong probinsya,” he continued.
Eleazar added that when people are grief-stricken, they become desperate but when they are given assurance of security in their lives and livelihood, people will not join the NPA or any other group that is fighting against the legal structure being implemented by the government.
“Ang solusyon ditto ay mabigyan ng seguridad ang mga tao and we can do this by promoting and maintaining peace and order,” he said.
Citing that far-flung communities are especially vulnerable to the influence of armed groups, the country’s former top cop opined that government authorities should provide for rebel-infested areas with enough resources to develop their local sources of livelihood and give them access to domestic and foreign markets where they can sell their produce.
He added that access to subsidized if not free education and healthcare should also be intensified in order to address the spread of violent extremism and deter armed conflict. (ai/mtvn)