Groups, LGUs join hands to denounce CPP-NPA atrocities

By Lade Jean Kabagani

January 30, 2020, 9:40 pm

<p><strong>'NO TO CPP-NPA'.</strong> Anti-communist groups stage a rally at the Mendiola Peace Arc, Manila City on Wednesday. The groups are pressing the government to address the longstanding communist insurgency. <em>(PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)</em></p>

'NO TO CPP-NPA'. Anti-communist groups stage a rally at the Mendiola Peace Arc, Manila City on Wednesday. The groups are pressing the government to address the longstanding communist insurgency. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

MANILA—Anti-communist groups, local government units and other non-government organizations denounced the violence and atrocities committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and its allies as they staged a rally on Wednesday outside the Mendiola Peace Arc in Manila.

Julius Ursua, League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP) and Liga Independencia Pilipinas member, said protesters marched from the University of Santo Tomas going to Mendiola Peace Arc to condemn the alleged recruitment of minors by the leftist organizations and the killings of the innocent individuals.

The groups also expressed support to Angela Aguilar, a former CPP cadre, after she filed a petition before the poll body in April last year to revoke the registration of members of the Makabayan bloc.

“We are here to call for peace. The long-term violence brought by the communist groups and its allies is too much. We want to end terrorism to achieve a lasting peace because the future generation deserves it,” he added.

Left's recruitment

LPP chair Remy Rosadio said granting Aguilar’s petition to disqualify the members of Makabayan bloc may weaken the power of the CPP to pursue violence by dismantling their allies who have positions in government.

“The explicit recruitment of the Makabayan Bloc members to our youths should end now. This has been a long-term problem. They’re instilling hatred to the minds of our children against the government instead of teaching them the real essence of patriotism and love for the country, “she added.

She said many young individuals have been "brought to the mountains instead of going to school."

“We will not stop until our calls will be heard. We must look after the future of our children. The continuous recruitment of the leftist groups to our minors will kill their future," she said.

The Makabayan bloc is composed of party-list representatives from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan.

Meanwhile, Relissa Lucena, mother of a student allegedly recruited by the youth group Anakbayan, warned other parents to be vigilant with their children as they are the targets for recruitment.

“Dear parents, look after your children. Their innocent minds are the main targets of these political propagandists who are good at brainwashing. Talk to them always, learn to listen to them,” she said, noting that the last time she saw her daughter was when she was brought to Congress by the Makabayan bloc for a press briefing.

Lucena said granting the petition to disqualify the Makabayan bloc’s registration will give all the parents a huge relief and that the future of many other children will be secured.

“These members of the Makabayan Bloc are using our children for their own interests. For the sake of humanity, why don’t they bring back my daughter to me? They don’t deserve a position in Congress, since they’re the ones who are destroying the rights of the people,” she added, noting the children’s involvement with such groups lead them to leave their homes and drop out of schools.

Elvie Caalaman, Hands Off Our Children member, meanwhile said their series of protests are unpaid, adding that the parents' groups are just longing for their children.

“This is our advocacy. We don’t want other parents to experience the hurt we’ve already experience caused by the communists. We’re also protecting other children to be recruited,” she said.

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate has called the charges baseless, adding that these are "peddled by undemocratic forces against us."

"If they will file it in the proper forum, we will face it squarely, as we did in the past, when similar charges were also made and filed - but all were thrown in the garbage can of history for being political trash," he said in a message to PNA.

The anti-communist groups said the Commission on Elections has "motu propio" (on its own) powers, citing Republic Act No. 7941, or otherwise known as the “Party-list System Act”.

Under the law, the Comelec has the power to cancel groups’ registration when acting as “advocates of violence or unlawful means to seek its goal” and “violates or fails to comply with laws, rules or regulations relating to elections.”

The LGUs who joined the rally include Manila City, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Malabon, Paranaque, Taguig, Quezon City, and Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmarinas in Cavite.

The placard-bearing rallyists burned the effigies of the Makabayan Bloc representatives.

The concert rally ended with a candle-lighting prayer as the protesters plead for the end of the armed conflict caused by the communists.

The CPP-NPA has been declared by the United States of America, European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines as a terrorist group. (PNA)