Underground group blasts Sara Duterte for calling NPA terrorists
DAVAO CITY – A farmers’ underground revolutionary group chided Mayor Sara Duterte for tagging the New People’s Army as a terror organization.
The statement from the Pambangsang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM) in Southern Mindanao came days after Duterte slammed the attack by the NPA on a packaging facility of the Lapanday Foods Corporation in Davao City, as a “personal insult.”
According to Restituto Baguer, spokesperson of the PKM, Duterte’s husband, lawyer Mans Carpio, is a legal counsel of Lapanday, which is presently embroiled in a land dispute with agrarian reform beneficiaries in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.
“It is understandable that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte views the May 29 NPA’s punitive action in the city as an ‘act of terrorism’ against the Lorenzos, given that her husband, Atty. Mans Carpio, is a legal counsel of the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday Foods Corp. We can only expect that a GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) local chief executive who has vested interest in the companies of a landgrabbing comprador-landlord to be the latter’s spokesperson and defender,” Baguer said in a statement.
Mayor Duterte has responded to the criticism, saying that NPA-allied groups have no right to talk about social justice if they cannot even show their faces to the public. She added that she has had nothing to do with the work of her husband, Mans Carpio, and in fact, they have made it a point never to discuss work at home.
Hundreds of communist guerrillas simultaneously attacked three facilities of the Lorenzos in Davao City and Panabo last Saturday carting away 39 firearms.
The rebels also torched structures and equipment of the Lorenzos before withdrawing towards the hills of Davao City.
Baguer added that Duterte “hardly made noise when Lapanday’s armed goons opened fire and wounded nine unarmed civilian peasants three days after the latter’s land occupation of the landgrabbed Lapanday banana plantation in Tagum City last December.”
“Thus, for Sara Duterte to claim the NPA’s assault in the Lorenzo-owned businesses in Davao City a ‘personal insult,’ is not only hypocritical but downright self-serving,” Baguer said.
Duterte, in a statement, said that her husband shared nothing about his work with her.
“My husband and I are separate entities. In fact, we do not discuss the jobs that we chose to do. We just commit to sincerely work and earn money for the benefit of our children,” Duterte said.
The mayor said that she condemned that attack because of her emotional experience of personally arranging for the treatment of a civilian, fish vendor Larry Buenafe, who was hurt after the NPA ambushed a convoy of responding soldiers.
“As Mayor tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of civilians, the injury of Larry is my injury,” Duterte said.
She added that attacks that happened in Kidapawan City and Tagum City were not her concerns.
“You are correct on one thing though. I personally made it happen that Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum come in as City Director of the Davao City Police Office, because he stood his ground against you,” Duterte said.
Tagum was accused by progressive groups of leading the bloody police assault against protesting drought-hit farmers in Kidapawan City in 2016, which left at least three farmers dead and scores wounded.
President Duterte, the mayor’s father who was then the Davao City mayor campaigning to become the President, immediately sent aid to the farmers amounting to P31.5 million after the Kidapawan City riot and condemned the violence.
The elder Duterte had called for sobriety and reminded that dialogue and not violence would resolve the crisis.
Lapanday earned the ire of the NPA after agrarian reform beneficiaries were fired upon by the armed guards of the company leaving at least 10 wounded in late 2016.
Last December 31, Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (MARBAI) members said that they were forcibly evicted by at least 200 guards at gunpoint.
More than 150 members of MARBAI were reinstated at a 145-hectare land within a banana plantation last December 19 following a cease and desist order from Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano citing the push of President Duterte to secure land ownership for farmers in the country.
The company continued to challenge the order of Mariano to install the agrarian reform beneficiaries even after he personally tried to peacefully facilitate it last month.
Hundreds of heavily armed guards prevented the Cabinet member and the police from entering the disputed land in April. SFM
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