This was the reaction of Jaime Paglinawan, chairperson of the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo-KMU), to the move of the local government units (LGUs) and government agencies of declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as persona non-grata.
He said this is nothing new and does not totally solve the root cause of the years-long problem of insurgency in the country.
“Either napugos na sila (LGUs) og pagpirma ana or ila ng kabubut-on, sa among tan-aw dili na makasulbad sa insurhensya sa atong nasud sa pagkakaron (It’s either they were forced to sign it or it is of their own will but the way we see it is that it can’t solve the insurgency problem of the country),” he said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, said all of the 132 local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as “persona non grata,” which means that a person is not welcome to enter or stay in an area.
In a statement issued on Friday, the DILG said 1,546 out of the 1,715 LGUs nationwide, 64 provinces, 110 cities, and 1,372 municipalities have already passed resolutions declaring Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) as persona non grata in their respective areas.
Central Visayas is among the regions that reportedly reached 100 percent declaration of persona non grata to the CPP-NPA-NDF. The others are Central Luzon, Zamboanga Peninsula, MIMAROPA, and Cordillera Administrative Region.
The DILG, however, did not clarify if the declaration also has legal implications.
Paglinawan said that although the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has ended the peace talks and peace negotiations with the communists (which the President started in 2016), they still believe and hope that peace talks can solve the insurgency problem of the country.
“Sa pagkakaron man gud, usa sa gikabalak-an nato nga kini ron nga pamugos nila nga ilambigit ang mga progresibong organisasyon ngadto sa gitawag nila nga mga CPP-NPA (We are hoping that with this persona non grata declaration (At present one of our worries is that progressive groups are being associated with what they call the CPP-NPA),” he said.
He said the government should instead prioritize solving the problems on how to recover from the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the territorial dispute with China.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año, in a statement, congratulated the LGUs for “stepping up, helping the national government, and letting themselves be counted among the growing number of local governments that want the reign of terror of the CTGs in the countryside to end after more than 50 years.”
“Maliwanag pa sa sikat ng araw na isinusuka na ng sambayanan ang CPP-NPA-NDF at ang mga front organizations nito. Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga LGUs na nagsasarado ng kanilang pintuan sa mga CTGs at ipinapakita ang kanilang mariing pagtutol sa mga Komunistang Teroristang Grupo (It is as clear as day that the people have rejected the CPP-NPA-NDF and their front organizations. We thank the LGus for vehemently opposing the CTGs),” he said.
He also considered the support of LGUs as a “turning point” in the fight against the CTGs because the government, he said, has since shifted from the military-centric approach and is now utilizing the whole-of-society approach where all government agencies from the national to the LGUs including the private sector work together to bring peace to the countryside.
He said under the umbrella of National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflicts chaired by the President, they have organized inter-agency local ELCAC task forces with 17 Regional Task Forces, 81 Provincial Task Forces, 1,405 City, and Municipal Task Forces, and 26,044 Barangay Task Forces.
He explained that the support from the LGUs is timely especially as the country faces the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, making people in far-flung communities more vulnerable to recruitment by the CPP-NPA-NDF. / WBS