DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) has called on the people in the second district here to dislodge the over 20-year-old rule of the Garcia political clan, saying it only resulted in the exploitation of the people, especially during the election time.
In a statement emailed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Parago Sandoval, spokesperson of the NPA’s First Pulang Bagani Command operating in the city’s Paquibato district, said the NPA has found the “bullying” of local politicians campaigning in the city’s second district as “objectionable.”
“It’s high time to change the politics of sheer self-perpetuation and coercive partisanship in the areas of Southern Mindanao and particularly in the rural districts of Davao City,” said the statement, even as the rebel group reiterated its lack of belief in Philippine elections.
Parago’s statement singled out Rep. Mylene Garcia, daughter of three-term Rep. Manuel Garcia and sister of three-term Rep. Vicente Garcia, currently running for reelection in the city’s second district.
Sought for comment, Garcia said: “While I disagree with some of their statements, I respect their views and I pray that they will join the rest of us in a free, honest and peaceful elections.”
“I wish them well,” she added.
“At the expense of real development and progress for the people, the Garcias have lorded it over for more than 20 years in the Davao City’s second district and have perfected the use of psychological warfare and terror sweetened by largesse during Election Day, especially in Paquibato district and outlying areas,” the NPA statement said.
“The New People’s Army welcomes any opportunity, any development that would puncture the dynastic arrogation of power, particularly in the second congressional district of Davao City,” it added.
The statement also accused officers and members of the 69th Infantry Battalion to have served as “staunch private armies” of the Garcias in “perpetuating the garrison-like campaigning and voting in Paquibato and other parts of the second district.”
“With no real performance or track record to speak of, and with no inclination to represent the interests and aspiration of the lumad (indigenous peoples), workers, peasants and other basic sectors in the halls of reactionary Congress, a change in leadership could mean a reprieve for the masses from the murky politics that have characterized the past administration,” the NPA said.
The NPA urged the people to “seize the opportunity to repudiate the politics of status quo and atrocious election campaigning, and support candidates who may possibly rise to the challenge of representing and working for the people’s interest.”
Although the statement singled out Garcia, it kept mum about Garcia’s strongest political ally, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, under whose political party Garcia has been running. Duterte, who leads the political party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, is known to be on friendly terms with rebels.