MANILA – While militant and human rights sectors are busy filing petitions left and right against the newly-enacted Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, these very same groups are yet to voice out their take on confirmed reports of retreating communist terrorists that force indigenous peoples (IP) in Mindoro to do their chores for them.
“This exploitation of IPs is a serious matter. Yet, we haven’t heard from CHR (Commission on Human Rights) chairperson Chito Gascon, from the leaders of a few religious institutes who question the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, as well as members of the ‘Kamatayan’ (Makabayan) Bloc,” said Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency Thursday.
He added that communist terrorists have been intimidating the IPs, forcing them to join the armed group.
“Several of them have since surrendered and narrated how minor female IPs were kidnapped by the NPAs for years, after asking them to fetch water for the rebels,” Parlade said.
The abuse of IPs in the hands of communist terrorists came in wake of the group’s withdrawal in Mindoro, he added.
“Shall we allow these terrorists to victimize our IPs and children by going easy with these terror groups? By rescinding the ATL? (Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020) Where is your heart? Tell us (Bayan Muna) Rep. Carlos Zarate,” he said.
Earlier, he said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA)’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) retreated to Mindoro in a bid to establish a new base after sustaining several crushing defeat from government forces.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines
While assuring that these communist terrorists will not be given leeway to make a comeback, he added that these reports are of concern after Filipino-American Amado Canham Rodriguez, a “Main Regional Guerilla Unit” member, reportedly died of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic while staying in the Mangyan villages.
“Who knows how many IPs have they infected with the virus?” Parlade said.
Communist rebels in Occidental Mindoro area, he said, are now surrendering to authorities within weeks after the Regional Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC) brought its services to the remotest area in the province.
“Communist rebels affiliated under the NPA’s STRPC are now surrendering and causing the STRPC to crumble. Thanks to the services provided by the Regional Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” he added.
He was referring to the instance where the RTF ELCAC brought its services to Sitio Mantay, Monteclaro, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on August 20.
“Weeks after the RTF ELCAC brought its services to Sitio Mantay, Monteclaro, San Jose Occidental Mindoro, one of the remotest areas in Mindoro, elements of MAV, Islacom Mindoro, STRPC started to return to the folds of the law,” he added.
Parlade said that on August 26 alone, six members of the NPA’s “PLTN SERNA” of KLG MAV, SRMA 4D, and 48 “Milisyang Bayan” (MB)/”Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad” (SPL) voluntary surrendered to the RTF ELCAC.
He added that these surrenderers were briefed on the government “Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits and enrollment.
E-CLIP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration that seeks to effect social healing and national unity through a whole-of-nation approach, towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.
“Other concerned agencies were also expediting the necessary support and requirement in the availment of E-CLIP benefits,” Parlade said. (PNA)