By JEOFFREY MHAR LARUA
KALINGA — “Mas lalong tumitindi ang paghihirap ng mamamayan.”
The local command of the New People’s Army (NPA) here denounced the ‘continuing crisis of the masses’ as President Rodrigo Duterte marks his first year with his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.
In a statement, Ka Tipon Gil-Ayab of the Lejo Cawilan Command said that while Duterte has been elected with “grand” promises of social change, the President has failed to deliver these especially among the ranks of indigenous peoples (IP) and national minorities.
Dutertenomics in the Cordillera
According to Gil-Ayab, Duterte’s ‘neoliberal’ economic policy has ushered in a ‘golden age of infrastructure’ that only opens Kalinga and the rest of the region to destructive projects.
“Malawakan ang pang-aagaw ng lupang-ninuno sa ngalan ng pagsusulong ng ginintuang panahon ng imprastruktura sa ilalim ng Dutertenomics,” said Gil-Ayab. Among those in the pipeline is Lucog Dam in Tabuk City, a public-private partnership project (PPP).
Gil-Ayab also said that the government has failed to address agricultural needs in the province, citing lack of aid for calamity-affected farmers, ‘commercialized’ irrigation, and low selling prices for agricultural produce.
He adds that the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) is a ploy to grab ancestral domains.
The NPA spokesperson also said that the Duterte administration’s security policy only presents “militarist solutions to its problems”, further intensifying fascist attacks against the people.
Gil-Ayab, cited, the administration’s war on drugs and its all-out war against the NPA.
“Ang all-out-war ay hindi lamang laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan kung hindi kontra-mamamayan sa kabuohan. Sinasagasaan nito ang interes ng sambayanan sa pagkamit ng makatarungang kapayapaan at progresibong pag-unlad para sa lahat,” he claimed.
Gil-Ayab also mentioned the state forces’ violations of indigenous socio-political structures to promote peace.
“Gumagamit ang AFP ng IP-centric approach ang militar upang guluhin at pag-awayin ang mga tribu sa pamamagitan ng sapilitang pagpapaloob sa mga armadong pwersa nito at ng NPA sa bodong o peace pact upang gipitin at singilin ang mga tribu at pamilya ng mga tukoy na NPA tuwing may magaganap na mga labanan,” he said.
Call for peace remains
Meanwhile, Gil-Ayab said that while the fighting between revolutionary and state forces go on, they are still open to talking peace.
“Nagkakaisa ang buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan na dapat seryosong pag-usapan at resolbahin ang ugat ng armadong tunggalian,” he said.
The Duterte administration on July 21 arbitrarily declared the cancellation of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), after an incident in Arakan, Davao last July 19.
The NPA spokesperson said that the government should recognize the need for genuine socio-economic reforms in order to address root causes of the sufferings of the Filipino people. # nordis.net