Makabayan bloc slams Duterte, Andanar for red-tagging legitimate orgs
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives have denounced the efforts of President Duterte and his administration in tagging supposed legitimate organizations as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The Makabayan bloc was referring to Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar’s statements in a radio interview where he said that the government would destroy communist forces, including nongovernment organizations and partylist groups.
“President Duterte and Secretary Andanar are again setting up our bloc and progressive people’s organizations for attacks by state agents through trumped-up charges, harassment, enforced disappearances and even extrajudicial killings (EJKs) with their continued vitriolic verbal attacks and black propaganda against us,” the bloc said in a statement on Monday.
“With the militarist hawks’ dominance in the Duterte administration, the government has become intolerant of dissent and criticism and wants to silence all those who air opposition to their anti-people policies by harassment and violence,” they added.
In an interview with DZBB, Andanar was asked if the government’s crackdown on communist forces would include legal fronts.
He answered that every organization allied with the CPP would be affected, vowing to campaign against partylist groups gunning for a Congressional seat in the 2019 elections.
For the Makabayan bloc, which is composed of ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, they are not fronts of the CPP.
They also stressed that they have pushed for issues that favor majority of the Filipinos.
“The public knows that we are legal and legitimate partylist groups and we are not fronts of the CPP. Our track record speaks for itself and we have always stood for the interest of the majority of our people, from job contractualization, unwarranted power rate hikes, the oppressive TRAIN law, and the pork barrel system among others,” Makabayan bloc said.
“We have always opposed anything that would be disadvantageous to the people while at the same time pushing for reforms that are beneficial to them like Php 750 national minimum wage, the P2,000 SSS pension hike and Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill,” they added.
While militant groups and members of the communist rebels were initially hopeful that the peace talks will foster under Duterte’s term, the discussions went sour when both parties accused each other of being unfaithful to the process.
According to the President, the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), breached the ceasefire when they started attacking government forces.
Since then, Duterte has vowed to crush the rebellion, despite previous pronouncements that he is a “socialist” president.
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