BAGUIO CITY— Amid persona non grata declarations against them, the Leonardo Pacsi Command (LPC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mountain Province said it will continue the “revolutionary work.”

In compliance with Executive Order 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte, instituting the “whole of nation approach” and creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), all ten municipalities in the province passed resolutions declaring the NPA persona non grata.

However, the communist guerillas, in an emailed statement, said their work and commitment to protect and uphold the democratic rights of the people will continue.

“No persona-non-grata declaration shall hinder the advancement of the people’s democratic revolution,” said Magno Udyaw, LPC spokesperson.

He said that amid escalating military operations, the NPA in the province has “flourished.” The rebel spokesperson said their success is “due to the correctness of our revolutionary cause, and of course, the endless support of the people.”

“To cover their shameful defeat, they have turned their guns against the people. They terrorized the residents, demanding them to present IDs or passes before being allowed access to the production areas and pasturelands,” Udyaw said.

According to him, out of fear, residents failed to check and tend their crops and livestock.

“As a result, their palay became overripe, depleting its quality, if not destroyed altogether. The cows they are tending lost too much weight,” he said.

Udyaw also cited the case of two civilians from Besao whom the military accused of being part of the NPA unit that ambushed them.

“Just last week, members of the PNP’s Special Action Force have fired indiscriminately at Jether Mangallay, an innocent farmer, while tending his farm in Brgy. Ambagiw. Incidentally, children were in the area and left shortly before the incident. Luckily, no one was not harmed on the incident,” he said.

The rebel leader also criticized the NTF-ELCAC. He said that it only protects the interest of big companies that have set their eyes on exploiting the river systems and minerals in the region.

“The Duterte regime cites the CPP-NPA as a hindrance to the opportunity for growth and development of prospective business interests. In line with this, it  has pushed LGUs to create their local version of NFT-ELCAC,” he said.

Udyaw mentioned the Dutch-backed Bimaka Renewable Energy Corporation. The company is set to construct a 14- megawatt hydropower in Besao.

According to him, Chevron, which explored the region for geothermal resources, is also interested in putting up a plant Mainit village in Bontoc. He also noted the controversial Chico River Irrigation Pump Project, funded by China under onerous terms.

He challenged the proponents of the persona non grata declarations to “genuinely take the side of the exploited and the oppressed.” Udyaw also urged them to stop big businesses from exploiting the province’s natural resources. The LPC-NPA called on them to condemn human rights violations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to him, instead of launching massive military operations, the Philippine government should resume the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The LPC spokesperson added that through the peace talks, the roots of the armed struggle can be addressed. He explained that the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) can further open the way towards achieving a just and lasting peace.

“We shall continue defending our land, life, and resources, and advancing genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization as the long-term solution to the poor economic situation of our country,” Udyaw declared. # nordis.net

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