CPP pooh-poohs persona non grata tag
LUCENA CITY –– The sweeping declarations by local government units (LGUs) and villages across the country tagging communist rebels as “persona non grata” (unwelcome or unacceptable) in their respective areas were not making a dent on the insurgents, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said Tuesday.
“The AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) ‘persona non grata’ drive has little effect on the NPA,” Marco Valbuena, CPP public information officer, said in an online interview.
He claimed that the declarations have not stopped the Maoist-inspired rebels from “working with the people to address their daily concerns (social, economic, public health, peace, and order) and providing all kinds of services including medical, educational, and others.”
“Thus, despite the AFP propaganda drive, the NPA continues to enjoy the deep and wide support of the people in myriad forms,” he said.
According to Valbuena, the “persona non grata” declaration was part of the military’s counter-insurgency campaign.
“Many LGUs have agreed to sign the declaration not because of the convincing power of the AFP, rather because of fear that they will be red-tagged and targeted by the military if they do otherwise,” he said.
He claimed that “the majority of the officials signed the declaration out of fear of military reprisal.”
According to Valbuena, some local officials were also taking advantage of the “persona non grata” drive to cover up their failure in governance to address widespread poverty among their constituency.
“They are shifting the blame on the NPA for the problems caused by their corruption, including lack of infrastructure and social services,” the CPP spokesperson said.
The Department of Interior and Local Government asked LGUs and barangay officials around the country to declare the CPP-NPA “persona non grata” to show their support for the government’s fight to end the communist insurgency that has been waged for 50 years.
The declaration was part of the renewed campaign by government forces to crush the communist insurgents before the end of President Duterte’s term in 2022./lzb
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