LETTERS FROM DAVAO
By Jun Ledesma
FIFTEEN senators including the Majority Floor Leader and former President of the Ruling Party signed a resolution that censures National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency spokesperson, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. after he branded the move to defund NTF-ELCAC as “stupid”.
The senators did not like Parlade’s crisp repartee to Sen. Dick Gordon idea to deprive the government’s main counter-insurgency body for “red-tagging” the communists and its New People’s Army and members of the legal fronts of the CPP-NPA. Senator Dick and the rest of the 14 senators were obviously oblivious to the fact that NTF-ELCAC had made an unprecedented breakthrough in curbing the spread of the radical insurgency with the surrender of hundreds of NPAs to include their firearms and hidden arms cache.
As I write this piece, the Regional Trial Court of Davao issued warrants of arrests to religious leaders and so-called “volunteer teachers” in a holding area called UCCP Haran that had hostaged children of indigenous people. The IPs were allegedly subjected to indoctrination and used in protest rallies. Haran operates like the alternative schools called “Salugpungan” in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. The school was closed after Satur Ocampo and some Party List leaders were arrested while escorting several IP children in an unholy hour. The kids, it turned out later, were taught how to dismantle and assemble Armalite rifles. The indoctrination is such that the impressionable children are incensed against the government.
Sadly, Majority Floor Leader Migz Zubiri and former PDP-Laban Pres. Koko Pimentel are not aware that some of the IPs in Haran and Salugpungan are from their political domain. I can excuse detained Leila de Lima for her world revolved around her cell now and the “kubols” in the state penitentiary which she had frequented when she was Justice Secretary.
Frank Drillon, who authored the resolution, was simply ignorant of the fact that on the Island of Panay alone over 250 NPAs and supporters had surrendered. In Negros, where sporadic ambuscades were staged by the armed rebels, several NPA leaders and their followers had given up.
In Davao de Oro, 26 active NPAs which comprise one guerilla front surrendered and turned over their firearms while several towns in Davao Oriental which used to be a spawning ground of the NPAs had been declared insurgent free. In Agusan del Norte, 24 NPA combatants surrendered over the weekend.
I would of course give credit to our brave soldiers, police forces, and local government officials for these unprecedented numbers of surrenderers not to mention those who were killed and captured. Moreover behind the successful campaign against the Red Army and scores of surrenderers is the imperceptible role of the NTF-ELCAC.
How else can one describe the idea of Richard Gordon to defund NTF-ELCAC just because General Parlade tagged the political-legal fronts and their CPP-NPA covert supporters “Red”? In fact, Parlade was referring only to the ‘defund’ move as “stupid” and never named Dick or any senator for that matter as such.
Unwittingly, 15 members of the Upper Chamber of the Philippine Congress had unmasked themselves. They were never mentioned or attributed to as being stupid but surprise of all surprises they took offense.
Aside from senators already mentioned, those who voted to sanction Parlade are Kiko Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, and Ralph Recto who will vote for anything against the administration rightly or wrongly anyway; Ping Lacson, who despite his training in the military academy, obviously does not understand what counter-propaganda means; Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian are simply totally clueless about what Parlade had been doing and achieved; Grace Poe and Pia Cayetano think that all these things about the CPP-NPA and the Reds are just in FPJ movies and the Little Red Hen.
Interestingly, these senators describe the legal fronts and leftist activists as “progressive”? Since when did sympathizers of terrorist organizations become progressive when they espouse and support subversive movements that contribute nothing to improve the government but by the use of arms overthrow it?
Have they become another phalanx of Jose Ma. Sison’s legal fronts? I can imagine Joma deliriously cheering in the comfort of his home in Utrecht, Netherland.
About the Columnist
Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.