MANILA – The death of 22-year-old Jevilyn Cullamat in a recent clash between Army soldiers and communists terrorists is another proof that progressive group Bayan Muna recruits minors and youths into the ranks of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Jevilyn, the youngest daughter of Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Eufemia C. Cullamat, was the lone NPA casualty during an encounter with troopers of the 7th Special Forces Company in Marihatag, Surigao Del Sur last November 28.
“The death of her daughter is yet another proof of Bayan Muna recruitment of youth into the NPA, aggravated by the fact that this time, it’s no less than the daughter of a Bayan Muna Representative herself, who made a sacrifice for a useless cause,” said Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in a statement Sunday.
He added that Jevilyn, a student of Tribal Indigenous Filipinos Phil-Surigao Del Sur (TRIFPSS) and ALCADEV (Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development), is also another proof of IP children radicalized in TRIFPSS and ALCADEV schools of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to join the NPA.
“Later in 2018-2019, she would come back to teach at ALCADEV and TRIFPSS, confirming the direct link of these schools with the NPA,” he added.
The younger Cullamat alias “Reb” was a medic of the “SYP Platoon, Guerilla Front 19” and a former of “TM Baking. GS/SYP 1, SRC Southland”.
“She is the equivalent of the Morong 38 ‘health workers’ released during the time of President PNoy. Also recovered were three AK-47, one M-14, and one M-653 rifle, five backpacks, and subversive documents. These were the same firearms, the NPAs have been using to kill IPs (Indigenous Peoples) like Datu Jumar Bucales in Lianga and other former rebels,” Parlade said.
He also dismissed Rep. Cullamat’s claims that medics are protected by international convention during conflicts.
“So, contrary to Rep Cullamat’s claim that a medic is protected by international convention, her daughter is an armed medic. The same convention states that medics should not be combatants. In the case of Jevilyn, she was clearly armed with an M-653,” he said.
Parlade, who is also spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), said their initial intentions were to condole with the Cullamat family following the death of Jevilyn.
But with Rep. Cullamat’s claim that Jevilyn joined the NPA after witnessing acts of abuses and atrocities committed against paramilitary forces against indigenous peoples, the SolCom chief said he will longer bother commiserating with the Bayan Muna Party-list representative.
“We condole with the family of Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat for the death of her youngest daughter. That was our original intention – to condole with the grieving family. But with the recent statement of Rep Cullamat re – the death of her daughter, why bother commiserating with her?” he said.
Other family members, too
Parlade said Cullamat’s husband was also in the underground until his arrest in the Visayas for murder and illegal possession of explosives.
He added that Eufemia’s sister Chary Campos Cullamat is a member of “Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod” (MAPASU) and Kahugpungan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon (KASALO), which are both front organizations of the CPP.
“Another sibling of Rep. Cullamat is Pablito Sinzo Campos, Jr., alias ‘Batik’, the Secretary of Guerilla Front 21, NEMRC (North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee) was captured on February 23, 2018. Another sister, Gloria Campos Tumalon, was also a leader of MAPASU and was arrested early this year for kidnapping and serious illegal detention,” he said.
“With all these members of the CPP and NPA from the Cullamat clan, how can Bayan Muna have Rep Cullamat as its third nominee? What kind of party-list would have its leaders from the ranks of criminals?” he asked.
He theorized that this is probably a party decision considering the Cullamat family record of loyalty to the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“It follows then that the NPA family of Cullamat clearly red-tagged Bayan Muna by joining it,” Parlade said.
He added that Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate’s strong denial that they are recruiters of the CPP-NPA during the Senate hearing on red-tagging has fallen flat following this incident.
“During the series of hearings in the Senate regarding red-tagging, the Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc including Rep. Carlos Zarate, has been denying that they are recruiters of the NPA. What better proof could we have but this? It is just unfortunate that Rep. Cullamat has to suffer both the pain of losing a child and being rebuked for contributing and sacrificing her daughter to this armed rebellion,” he added.
Rep. Cullamat, he said, maybe fuming with anger with the Army regarding her daughter’s death, she may feel the same against former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño and Zarate, whose children are studying in exclusive schools or are enjoying a luxurious life in Europe, for volunteering her siblings and daughter to the NPA cause.
“Don’t you think that’s unfair Casiño and Rep. Zarate?” Parlade said.
He said if he were in the shoes of Rep. Cullamat, then he would immediately resign from Bayan Muna and come clean with the rest of her family and just help the government protect the rights and interests of the IPs.
“Why allow more blood spilled in your ancestral domain? Clearly, Bayan Muna merely exploited the family of Rep. Cullamat, an IP, to fight a cause she knows that is based on some warped principles and obsolete ideology,” he said, adding that the only thing the CPP can offer is sacrifice and martyrdom as proven by the case of Jevilyn.
Meanwhile, as expected, he said, Rep. Zarate and Casiño can’t even show remorse.
“In fact, they could be discussing who is next to (be) push into the dungeons,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Representative Cullamat said she was not surprised that her daughter joined the NPA, as she saw and experienced the “abuses” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The lawmaker also warned that the recent incident could embolden the military to “spread lies” against the Bayan Muna and the Makabayan bloc.
“Walang kapantay ang aking dalamhati sa pagpatay ng militar sa aking anak na si Jevilyn. Dumagdag ang dugo ng aking anak sa libong kalumaran na nagpatak ng dugo sa lupa para sa kalayaan at laban sa historikong pang-aapi sa aming hanay,” she said.
A text message, however, released Jay Sonza in his Facebook account shows that not all in her family shares her sentiments.
Jiksan Culliamat, Eufemia’s oldest child wrote:
“Dili tinood ng gipanulti ni mama og sa Makabayan Bloc nga sundalo ang nagpatay kanamong mga lumad.
“Gani, sundalo ang mitabang kanamo nga makamugna og patubig ingon man ang iskulan.”
TRANSLATION: (Tagalog) Hindi totoo ang mga pinagsasabi ng nanay ko (Partylist Rep. Culliamat) at ng Makabayan Bloc na sundalo ang pumapatay ng mga katutubo sa Caraga Region. Katunayan, ang mga sundalo pa nga ang tumutulong sa amin upang magkaroon ng patubig at totoong eskuwelahan dito sa aming lugar.
(English) It is not true what my mother and the Makabayan Bloc are saying that soldiers are killing indigenous peoples in the Caraga Region. In truth, the soldiers are the ones helping us to have irrigation and true education in our place.