CPLA decries hatchet job-A A +A
Thursday, September 27, 2012
MELCHOR Balance or Commander Kawar of the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) lashed back at Arsenio Humiding.
Balance was referring to the strong words of Humiding last week when the latter called the CPLA, under recently reelected chairman Mailed Molina, as collectors of revolutionary taxes and protectors of squatters at the Dairy Farm compound along Marcos Highway.
“Why are we now being pictured as the bad guys?” Balance said.
These accusation angered Balance and other members of the CPLA as well as Richard Kiaki, newly designated secretary general of the Cordillera Bodong Administration, the political arm of the CPLA.
Balance’s group claimed they were hurt because they are not what Humiding accused them of nor they have said anything detrimental against Humiding or his group.
Humiding leads another group, which has signed an agreement with the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (Opapp) to disarm the CPLA and bring development funds to the Cordillera.
According to Balance, Humiding should stop using the name of the CPLA since he already agreed to transform his group into a development organization known as the Cordillera Forum for Peace and Development. This was contained in the agreement Humiding signed with government earlier this year and witnessed by President Aquino.
As such, Balance said, Humiding already surrendered all his rights to be called a member, much less the chairman of the CPLA.
Despite this, Balance and Kiaki said the CPLA membership has not uttered a word against Humiding and his members.
“But he called us collectors of revolutionary taxes and protectors of squatters, we can no longer remain silent,” Kiaki added.
Balance explained the Lumabaya company split from the New People’s Army primarily because the communist ideology is unacceptable by Cordillerans. One of these differences is the collection of such taxes from hard up people of the region.
He claimed the organization still does not collect taxes from anyone.
On Humiding’s barb of being protectors of Dairy Farm squatters, Kiaki could only shake his head in disbelief.
He explained the involvement of the CPLA in the controversy stemmed from the request of a member of the Paus clan for help. The Paus clan was claiming the entire Dairy Farm reservation as its ancestral claim at the time.
Kiaki added the requester felt someone was harassing him which forced him to approach Mailed Molina for assistance.
But the CPLA did not gain anything from this service. But Kiaki admitted Molina purchased a lot from the Paus clan after the ancestral claim was given due course by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. The clan has since then acquired an ancestral title for the property excluding built up areas of the Dairy Farm.
“So how can Humiding call us squatters?” Balance stressed.
Even though strong words already exchanged between the two groups, Kiaki and Balance are still grateful for what Humiding has done for the Cordillera through the CFPD.
“The last time I went home, I found a newly concreted road. I was informed it came from funds which Humiding was able to ask from government. And for that I am grateful,” Balance said.
However, the CPLA will not stray from its desire for regional autonomy.
“Let us help each other in this aim and not come out with unfounded statements,” Balance implored. (Sam Bautista)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 27, 2012.