KEEPING DISTANCE. Modenita Mabaylan, president of the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association-Northern Mindanao chapter, reads the organization's statement disaffiliating itself with Confederation for Unity, Recognition, and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) Wednesday (August 10, 2022). According to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Courage is a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Northern Mindanao (Region 10) chapter of the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association (Darea) has disaffiliated itself from the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) Wednesday.

The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, along with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), identified Courage as an alleged front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) rebel movement.

Modenita Mabaylan, Darea Region-10 president, said the move came after the group's national chapter issued a resolution in March expressing support for former President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 (EO 70).

EO 70 created the NTF-ELCAC and established a “whole of nation approach” to address insurgency in the countryside.

“The Darea Region 10's support for the severance of its ties with Courage is deeply anchored in its commitment to continue the neutrality and impartiality of the employee's association and maintain its loyalty to the government,” Maybalan said during a media forum here.

Mabaylan said the regional chapter “was fortunate to have not directly engaged with any officers of Courage.”

“We didn't know that they (Courage) exist and operate (even) in other government agencies,” she said.

One of those who attested the Courage's alleged “infiltration” was tribal leader Datu Jomorito Guaynon, a former leader of another “communist front” that once became part of the CPP-NPA.

“I know Courage is one of the front organizations that try to recruit workers in the government in joining (the underground communist organizations). You (Courage members) may not know that your monthly dues are already helping the CPP-NPA,” Guaynon said.

Guaynon also said Courage members allegedly share documents and information from within the government agencies to other front organizations of the CPP-NPA.

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 NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the ATC on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)