Communist relying on Metro Manila ‘support system’
MANILA, Philippines — The “support system” of communist groups are in Metro Manila, according to Brig. Gen. Alex Luna, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – Joint Task Force (AFP-JTR) National Capital Region.
Membership in communist groups has been dropping since the 1980s, and they have been stagnant for the last 10 years, Luna noted in a press briefing on Tuesday following a joint meeting between the Metro Manila Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Pasay.
“The reason why it’s not going down anymore is that they have an inflation support system here in Metro Manila,” Luna said, speaking partly in Filipino. “In the provinces, they’re having a hard time getting cadres. Now they’re also having a hard time getting financial support because of the move of other agencies of the government to stop foreign support to these communist-affiliated organizations.”
“They’re really suffering,” Luna went on. “So what they are doing now is make use of their support system, which is right now here in Manila. They do their recruitment of cadres here, mostly the youth and students. Their fund-generating system, they get it from the business sector.”
He cited previous reports of groups committing extortion against telecommunication, construction, and mining companies.
Luna said that communist groups had also resorted to recruiting members from the labor sector in Metro Manila since they had been having a hard time recruiting in the provinces.
“These are the things that they are doing now. They want to increase activities here to sustain their activities,” he said.
“That’s why the President would really want to have this kind of organizations in every region so that they will be a convergence of all government sectors to address this armed conflict caused by CPP-NPA,” he added.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), called the case in Metro Manila as “peculiar” compared to other regions.
“Unlike other regions that have armed conflict, here we don’t have that,” he said. “But it’s here where they have the center of their front organizations. So we will focus our efforts on countering that and show our countrymen the reality and how we can convince the public that communism is not the solution for the development of our country.”
During the joint meeting, the National Capital Region Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NCRTF-ELCAC) was formally created as a part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2018 order for a “Whole of Nation” approach for sustainable peace.
The special task force seeks to counter the recruitment efforts of groups such as CPP-NPA and their “deceitful propaganda” in schools and poor communities in Metro Manila.
The task force also seeks to ensure direct delivery of social services to the poor, who the authorities said are being targeted for recruitment.
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