MANILA – The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) were pinpointed as the masterminds behind the chaos that ensued at the disputed land in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac on June 9.
This was revealed on Tuesday by former members of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) during a special virtual press briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Christopher Garcia, formerly known as "Ka Warly", who is now a board member of Sambayanang Gitnang Luzon, said the CTGs have initiated the "Bungkalan" mobilization campaign in Hacienda Tinang wherein communist rebels will move into disputed agricultural lands in the country, including Hacienda Luisita.
"Ito ay pagpapalawak din ng baseng-masa at balikan ang mga lugar na dati nilang hawak. Alam namin yun dahil naranasan namin yan (It is a way to broaden mass-based and return to the place they used to control before. We know that because we experienced it)," Garcia said, referring to the CTG's efforts to take back their former lair from government forces.
He added that the Tinang incident is just a starting point of the CTG’s focused efforts to sow chaos for the incoming administration.
"Ayaw nilang maupo si BBM (They don’t want President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong Marcos Jr. to lead)," said Ka Pong Sibayan, another former CTG member.
She added that the CTGs have been using the “bungkalan” mobilization for recruiting and radicalizing the youth and to seek foreign funding.
"Negosyo nila (CTG) yan. Binubulsa naman ng mga lider ang nakokolektang pondo at hindi napupunta sa mga magsasaka (That’s their business. The leaders pocket the funds and do not give to the farmers)," Sibayan said.
The two also accused Renato Reyes of Bayan Muna, Pia Montalban and Joyce Ann Neponcio of Karapatan, as "urban operatives" of the CPP-NPA-NDF, allegedly well-known for sowing disinformation and agitations.
"Hihimukin ang mga magsasaka hanggang June 30 (The farmers will be convinced until June 30)," Ka Warly said, adding that similar campaigns are also being prepared in Hacienda Murcia near Hacienda Tinang, and in Barangay Central near Hacienda Luisita by members of other CTG-affiliated groups such as "Anak Pawis" and Unyon ng Manggagawang Agrikultura (UMA) to further instigate the youth and farmers.
"Gusto nilang pag-away-awayin ang mga magsasaka para magulo ang bagong administrasyon (They want farmers to fight each other to sow chaos in the new administration)," he said.
Not from Tinang
Meanwhile, Orlando Baluyot, Chairperson of the Tinang Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc., said the police were just doing their duty to protect crops owned by the cooperative that was deliberately being destroyed by the CTGs.
“Nung June 9, yung mga barangay officials sa amin ay nagsabi sa amin na may dalawang traktora na nandodoon na maninira ng tubo. Kaagad po ay pumunta kami doon kasama ang mga board of directors namin (On June 9, our barangay officials told us that there were two tractors destroying their crops),” Baluyot said, adding that this prompted them to call the police to stop the perpetrators from further destroying their crops.
“Simula't sapul pa lang na nandito kami sa Barangay Tinang ay hindi po kami naninira ng tao o nanloloko. Ang ginagawa lang po namin ay intindihin yung kabuhayan po ng mga miyembro po namin (Ever since we have been here in Barangay Tinang, we have not slandered people or cheated. All we do is understand the livelihood of our members),” Baluyot said.
Baluyot added that he and the barangay officials did not recognize anybody in the group.
On this note, Garcia criticized losing candidates Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan for allegedly supporting those who sowed chaos in Tinang.
He said the youth involved in the Hacienda Tinang incident were supporters of Robredo and Pangilinan.
“Kahit mali na yung mga ginawa ng mga tao na ito, pilit pa nilang pinagtatanggol at pinagtatakpan at ipalabas na masama ang ating mga kapulisan (Even though what these people did was wrong, they still tried to defend and cover up and show that our police are bad),” he added.
For her part, Spokesperson for Sectoral Concerns and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy said the results of the last elections plainly tell us that “walang tiwala ang taong bayan sa kanila (people don’t trust them),” referring to outgoing Vice President Robredo and Senator Pangilinan.
“Nakita nyo ba yung statements nila, nakakahiya, tuloy tuloy ang pakikipagsabwatan (nila). Hindi ito about politics dahil wala na, talo na sila, pinakikita dito na kahit ang CPP ay nakikipagsabwatan sila (Did you see their statements, it's embarrassing that their conspiracy continues. It's not about politics anymore because the election is over, they have lost, it shows that even the CPP is colluding with them,” Badoy said.
She added that based on the revelations made by Garcia and Sibayan, the people should be informed of the truth, that the Tinang incident was actually instigated by urban operatives of the CPP-NPA-NDF, and not just a dispute with the cooperative.
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, acting NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Legal Affairs, warned the youth not to be used by the CTGs for their propaganda.
He pointed out that in truth, the CTGs were the ones who started the incident, then they will use that same incident to ask for funding from abroad, the same modus operandi that they have been using since the 70s to the detriment of the country.
PNP welcomes CHR probe on incident
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 3 (Central Luzon) has welcomed the filing of complaints with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against any of their personnel involved in the arrest of individuals behind the “Bungkalan” mobilization in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac.
PNP-PRO3 Director, Brig. Gen. Matthew Baccay, said the June 10 incident in Tinang initially netted 91 individuals including five foreigners and four minors who were eventually released, leaving 82 offenders on charges of 'malicious mischiefs' and illegal assembly. All those charged were also released on bail.
Baccay said the detention of the 82 individuals was “in accordance with the law and with the utmost respect for human rights.”
"We have done only our duty… I will stand by my men to answer the charges filed against us," Baccay said.
The official was referring to charges filed before the CHR over allegations of abuse in the arrest and detention, and the delay in the release of the offenders.
"My advice to them (who filed the charges at CHR), make your allegations credible. This is what happens when you take the law into your own hands," Baccay said.
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.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PR)