NO TURNING BACK. Philippine National Police chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. hands over government assistance to former New People’s Army rebels at the National Capital Region Police headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City on Monday (Dec. 26, 2022). On the day of the 54th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the police highlighted how members of communist groups are realizing the futility of their violent ways. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Senator Ronald Dela Rosa advised voters not to elect into office public officials who are "left-leaning" or sympathizes with the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Dela Rosa said there were attempts to block the approval of the requested PHP10-billion budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) during the budget hearings.

"Kahit huwag niyo na akong piliin, huwag niyo na akong ire-elect as a senator. Basta ang importante lang huwag niyong piliin ‘yung mga kandidato pagkasenador na humaharang dito sa mga project ng NTF-ELCAC kasi para sa mga kababayan natin ito eh (It’s okay if you don’t reelect me but the more important thing is to also reject the candidates who are blocking the projects of NTF-ELCAC that benefit our countrymen)," Dela Rosa said in an interview with a news channel on Monday, the day of the CPP’s 54th founding anniversary.

The bicam eventually restored the funding which was reduced to half during deliberations.

"In my modest opinion, ‘yung mga umaayaw, ‘yung iba meron talagang leaning sa kaliwa na ayaw talaga nilang mawala ‘yang problema na ‘yan. Parang pinagkukunan pa nila ng lakas ‘yang pekeng idolohiya na ‘yan (those who were against, they really have left-leaning tendencies. They do not want to solve the problem. They seem to get their strength from this fake ideology)," he said.

The NTF-ELCAC was created by Executive Order No. 70 in December 2018 to employ a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives.

In another interview, Senator Francis Tolentino assured that the Senate is implementing "institutional changes" to protect the budgetary support for NTF-ELCAC and other government anti-insurgency programs.

"There are various ways we can help facilitate the correction, so to speak, of the history and to give real justice to the victims. Kapag pinagsama-sama po ‘yung efforts na ‘yun, sa palagay ko po maganda ang kalalabasan. ‘Yung pagbibigay po ng governance ng mga (If we combine these efforts, I think it will produce good results. The governance being provided by the) local government units is likewise a step that can really break the back of the efforts of the left," Tolentino said.

Tolentino likewise supports the creation of a Historical Truth Commission for an "unredacted version of our history" in coordination with the Commission on Human Rights and the National Historical Commission. 

The creation of the commission is being pushed by a group of former CPP-NPA-NDF members and high-ranking officials who have renewed their allegiance to the government.

"We want to spill out the truth for the nation, not only to correct and rectify the history, but also to protect the future generations about the destructive nature, the manipulative, and the dangerous na kaisipan at baluktot na organisasyon ng (ideology and crooked organization of the) CPP-NPA-NDF," said Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celis, a former CPP-NPA leader and host of the SMNI program that interviewed Dela Rosa and Tolentino.

Jose Maria "Joma" Sison, CPP founder, died at the age of 83 on Dec. 16 in Utrecht, the Netherlands where he has been living in exile since the late 1980s. (PNA)