MANILA – Former members of the defunct Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) and the Cordillera Peoples’ Liberation Army (CPLA) have lauded the development of Duterte administration’s “Whole of the Nation Approach” in bringing the 52-year-old armed struggle of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the Philippines to a close.
According to Executive Director of the Presidential Human Rights Committee, Undersecretary Severo Catura, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), former rebels remain attentive observers of the government’s initiatives to eliminate the communist menace.
“These groups commended the manner in which more former rebels have surfaced and given opportunities to start new lives, the greater number of villages that are now enjoying peace and development under the Barangay Development Program, the clearing of more CTG-influenced villages, and the dismantling of more Communist Terrorist Group fronts,” Catura said in a news release on Sunday.
“Remember, that these groups—the RPA-ABB and the CPLA—know what they’re talking about, having had their own experiences in working for decades for peace in the countryside alongside government,” he added.
The NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on human rights, peace process, and international engagements also stated that, “the NTF-ELCAC is not the playground bully as being portrayed by critics of the government, specifically the CTG front organizations.”
“The NTF-ELCAC is, more than anything else, an instrument to bring about a just, equitable and lasting peace in a society that is free from terrorism—all in keeping with our people’s desire to live in a society that is free from such,” he added.
Catura guaranteed Filipinos that the government will continue to honor its duties to human rights and International Humanitarian Law in accordance with the Commission on Human Rights’ position (CHR).
The CHR has previously criticized the latest landmine blasts carried out by the CPP-NPA, which murdered three unarmed government soldiers in Jipapad, Eastern Samar, as well as football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven in Masbate.
The use of anti-personnel mines (APMs) was criticized by the CHR, according to Deputy Spokesperson Mark Siapno, who said that the NPA will be held accountable for all of its crimes. He promised that the CHR would pursue justice for the victims.
Siapno also restated the government’s demand that the CPP-NPA-NDF be held accountable for all other atrocities committed against the Filipino people in violation of IHL and Human Rights Laws.
Catura thanked CHR’s support for the government’s stance against the CTG’s ongoing grave violations of IHL.
He claims that this will eventually put an end to the never-ending crimes of CPP-NPA-NDF against Filipinos.