By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — Organizations in Ilocos decried a series of text messages (SMS) received by its leaders last December 31.
They say the contents are malicious and believed the incident is part of the government’s ploy to associate legal mass organizations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
The SMS sent from cellphone numbers 09198664144, 09953623938, 09060678115 and 0995362389 contained the following messages: “Ang pagsuporta sa CPP-NPA-NDF ay katumbas ng pagsuko ng karapatang pantao, kalayaan at pinaghirapang ariaran sa mga Komunista (Supporting the CPP-NPA-NDF is equal to surrender of human rights, freedom and hard-earned properties to the communists)” and “Tunay na reporma ang kailangan ng bansa. Hindi limang dekadang armadong pakikibaka ng komunistang CPP-NPA! (The country needs genuine reform not the CPP-NPA’s five decades of armed struggle!)”
A group “1PhilMovt4Peace&Devt” is the signatory of the message.
Four officers received the messages according to Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA). Mary Ann Gabayan, IHRA’s secretary-general, Lenville Salvador, the regional coordinator of Makabayan Ilocos, Jennybeth Mariano secretary of Anakbayan and Reizel Santos the Vice-Chair for External affairs of Defend Ilocos. The same message was sent to the official contact number of Anakbayan-Ilocos.
Mariano explained the messages sent to them intend to associate them with the armed rebels, and justify the threats and harassment against legal organizations critical to the US-Duterte regime, including murder, to silence the mass movement.
She claimed that before the New Year’s Eve text, they have been receiving hateful and alarming texts from the same numbers and in their organization’s Facebook page since June 2018.
The last was on December 27, where a certain Emiliano Aguila sent images of alleged NPA mass graves, of Jose Maria Sison and a copy of Presidential Proclamation 374, labelling the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations through Facebook messenger.
Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Ilocos said the government’s desperation to eliminate its critics, it no longer distinguishes civilians and legal organizations from armed groups.
The group also chided President Duterte for his administration’s all-out campaign against the communist rebels.
“The regime boasts the CPP-NPA-NDFP is already irrelevant but it formed a task force dedicated to eliminating the communists,” said the group in a statement.
Just a few days earlier, CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison described the president as “trapped in self-contradiction” with his rants on the revolution’s failure and going after the CPP and NPA.
“His attempt to ridicule the armed revolution is contradicted by his more frequent rant that the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) are the principal threats to the counterrevolutionary state and are his scapegoats and pretext for his scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship through martial law nationwide and charter change to a bogus kind of federalism,” said Sison.
The exiled communist leader also underscored that long after the term of President Duterte ended, the revolutionary movement will remain and continue to grow in strength.
Brace for attacks
Bayan-Ilocos and Anakbayan called on the people to gather their resolve and brace for the intensified attacks against people’s rights in 2019.
“This coming New Year, we should exert more effort to expose and fight, to bring down and oust the fascist US-Duterte,” said Mariano.
While Bayan-Ilocos said more courage and strength is needed to counter all efforts of the administration to silence its critics and the people’s struggle.
Former Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño, a member of Bayan’s national leadership, cautioned the people to “expect more blood and repression this coming 2019” as the government’s “tokhang” now targets “activists, critics and purported rebel sympathizers.”
“But he will not succeed. Duterte cannot kill the fight for freedom and democracy. We shall resist and overcome,” he ended. # nordis.net