MANILA – Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief, Lt. General Antonio Parlade, Jr., laughed off and dismissed claims made by a communist leader that their forces went to a community in Rodriguez, Rizal to secure the well-being and health of people living there against the threats posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The claim made by National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiator Fidel Agcaoili shows that communist rebels and their allies are out of touch from the realities in the Philippines, Parlade said.
“Agcaoili is really so out of touch and a million miles away to think anyone who actually lives in the Philippines wouldn’t buy the crap he’s selling,” said Parlade, who is also a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, in a statement Wednesday.
He said Agcaoili’s statement was probably dictated to him by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.
“The (New People’s Army) NPAs must be really stupid to go near a village when they know there are soldiers there. Community Support Program or CSP is a government effort to reach out to far-flung communities to know their problems and link them to the right agency to address their issues. CSP teams stay in communities for months,” he added.
In the case of Sitio Malasya, Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal, he added that troops have been in the area since January disputing Agcaoili’s claims that members of the CPP and its armed wing New People’s Army are there to provide assistance to the villagers.
“Why would Agcaoili’s terrorist band, (the) NPA, go near the village if not to inflict harm on the soldiers as they wanted to celebrate the NPA anniversary last March 29 with a bang?” he added.
The communist rebels’ botched attack on Sitio Puray took place last March 28 and resulted in the death of a ranking NPA leader, and captured of assorted firearms, ammunition, documents and paraphernalia and the death of one trooper.
“And he is quick to present an alibi that they are ill-equipped with med(icines) because that’s not why they came close to the village for,” Parlade said.
He also scoffed off Agcaoili’s claims that the communist rebels’ highest sense of dedication made them go into action to help the masses despite the lack of medical supplies and items.
“Highest sense of dedication? Then why not just help our poor and vulnerable by sending your ‘health workers’ unarmed, to help? We can all work together to fight this Covid-19 and I can even join you, rather than threaten our soldiers who are doing their job,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“Remember your ‘Morong 43’, which you claimed were health workers but turned out to be real armed terrorists when they rejoined the NPA upon release? You have so many of those, members of your Health Bureau which you can send to work with us fight Covid-19. But first, show some sincerity,” he added.
Highlighting another CPP-NPA insincerity despite their claims of a ceasefire, Parlade said another encounter with communist rebel “medics” took place in Mulanay, Quezon in the afternoon of April 1 that resulted in the death of one NPA and the wounding of a soldier engaged in leaflet distribution campaign aimed at passing information in stopping Covid-19.
He added that “medics” were in ambush position as they were some two kilometers from the town proper when concerned residents alerted the troops, dismissing claims that this rebel operation was a medical mission.
“Yesterday (March 30), a similar incident happened in Gumaca, Quezon when troops also in leaflet distribution were attacked by the NPA terrorists. It resulted in the death of one NPA and his firearm recovered. I wonder how Agcaoili and Sison will again slant the story to make them appear to be another violation of our self-imposed truce?” he said.
On tight watch
Parlade said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not allow its troops to be hurt during the ceasefire which President Rodrigo R. Duterte said will be in effect from March 19 to April 15 that the CPP-NPA reciprocated with a truce declaration from March 26 to April 15.
“I already said it: we are not stupid to allow our troops to be hurt during the ceasefire. Once again you are validating our earlier warning that the NPAs are vicious traitors and we should always be watchful,” Parlade said.
He added that he also finds it odd that Agcaoili has the temerity to condemned and question the AFP for allegedly taking advantage of the ceasefire and the repressive measures of the government related to the implementation of the fight against Covid-19.
In the time of extreme crisis, he said, this act is the duty of a responsible government.
“Enforce strict rules to send the message to the people that this is not the time to fight for your individual liberties when the life of the entire mankind is already threatened. What, for instance, has the Data Privacy Act done? In your zeal to defend the rights of the few by concealing their identity, this act has endangered the lives of potentially millions,” he added.
He also scored the CPP-NPA for heavily criticizing government security efforts to protect the Filipino people against Covid-19 like checkpoints and imposition of a curfew.
Parlade said such negative actions by the CPP-NPA endanger Filipino lives even more.
“Maybe we should remind Agcaoili and Sison, of what their CPP Constitution Plans and Programs series May 2017 states: ‘to adhere to the principles of PROLETARIAN DICTATORSHIP’ (Art 3 Section 7 CPP Constitution). Maybe the CPP will not do what the PRRD government is doing in the implementation of (Enhanced Community Quarantine) ECQ and lockdown. Imagine what the government under CPP dictatorial rule will do during a crisis,” he added.
This will be probably similar to the scale of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 or the mass extermination by Cambodian dictator Pol Pot in 1975, he added.
“Given the CPP-NPA-NDF track record, my guess is it will be a combination of both then scale it up ten times. That would be the level of viciousness this terrorist group is capable of,” he said. (PNA)