Sat. Jul 31st, 2021

A former member of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) has described the pronouncements of some lawmakers’ to defund or realign the funds of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF-ELCAC) as an act of treason.

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“From our point of view as former rebels and to those victims of communist deception and exploitation, defunding NTF-ELCAC is an act of treason to the people,” said Joy James Saguino alias “Ka Amihan,” who served as secretary of Guerilla Front 20 under Sub-regional Committee 1 of the New People’s Army’s Southern Mindanao Region.

Ka Amihan, in a recent press conference here, said he is puzzled by the proposal to realign NTF ELCAC’s Barangay Development Program (BDP) budget of P16.5 billion for the development of 822 barangays cleared of insurgency.

“Why would we defund it? Why would we deprive a development program they [NPA surrenderers] deserve? For how many years?,” he added in Filipino.

She described the communist insurgency as worse than the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Ka Amihan, who is among the resource persons in the Nov. 24, 2020, Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation hearing on red-tagging, claimed he was recruited at the University of the Philippines Visayas in Iloilo as a member of League of Filipino Students (LFS).

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco said senators should listen to the former rebels who experienced poverty and the hardships of being in the communist movement.

“I think they do not understand the purpose of Executive Order 70, and maybe they should listen to Amihan, and other former rebels before they talk because they have a different experience there in the Senate compared to the former rebels,” Catamco said.

She believes that President Rodrigo Duterte will not go against his mandate in realigning the government’s anti-insurgency body to other projects.

BDP is a hallmark program of NTF ELCAC with the end goal of bringing development to former conflict-prone communities. SOVEREIGNPH

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