MANILA – The government is more committed to using local peace engagements (LPEs) as these bring about more immediate positive results, a ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Monday.
"Bakit po localized? Kasi po kapag localized ang peace engagement, immediately po may resulta (Why localized? Because if peace engagements are localized, there are immediate results),” Maj. Gen. Eduardo De Leon, commander of the Catbalogan, Samar-based 8th Infantry Division, said during the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) online press conference.
“Pagkatapos po walang humaharang sa national, walang pong kung anu-anong mga kondisyones na nangyayari, naibibigay po kaagad ng gobyerno at natutugunan kaagad ng gobyerno iyong mga nasabing mga hinaing na naging dahilan ng pagrerebelde o pagkagalit ng ating mamayanan laban sa gobyerno (Then, nobody prevents in national level, there are no many conditions, the government can immediately respond to the demands or complaints that lead countrymen into insurgency or their anger to the government)," he added.
He said the LPEs are ideal for dealing with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) since this terrorist group is organized from national down to regional, sub-regional, provincial, guerilla front, and to barrio levels.
With this kind of structure, De Leon said the LPE could be used to deal with the CPP-NPA-NDF or counter its affiliates in the locality.
"Kasi mayroon pong CPP sa lokal, iyong CPP sa barrio na tinatawag nilang 'Sanga ng Partido sa Lokalidad'. Kaya ng lokal, lokalidad, sa barrio. Mayroong NDF sa barrio, iyong 'Organisadong Masa' o Ganap na Samahang Masa' (There are CPP at the local (setting), the CPP in the barrios are called 'Sanga ng mga Partido sa Lokalidad', that's why they are called local because they are in the barrios. There are also CPP in the barrios and they are called 'Organisadong Masa' or 'Ganap na Samahang Masa')," he added.
In Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), the CPP in the barrios are called "Batakang Organisasyon ng Partido" (BOP) while the NDF in the villages identified as "Hul-os na "Asosasyong ng Masa".
While those in Mindanao are called "Hingpit na Organisadong Masa" and in Luzon they are called "Ganap na Samahang Masa" or also called "Solido Organisasyong Masa".
De Leon, who is also the former Armed Forces of the Philippine deputy chief for operations, said there are also NPA members in the barrios and they are called "Milisyang Bayan" or "Unit Milisya".
He added that many of the CPP organizations in the countryside or local setting are being used to agitate the people living there. De Leon said this is being done by demonizing development works or any positive impact made by the government.
The NPA members, he said, are using the so-called "hate campaign" in its efforts to win the local population to their side.
Through the LPE, De Leon said the complaints of the local communities are aired straight and answered by local chief executives, giving opportunities for the issues to be cleared and exposing the lies made by the NPAs.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
While the NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA. (PNA)