Groups fear crackdown after terror tag on NPA
Militant groups have expressed fear over the tagging of the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorists.
“Kinakabahala po namin yun, kasi bago pa man idineklara ng terrorista yung (We are worried because even before the) CPP-NPA-NDF [Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (were declared terrorists), marami nang pinapatay na mga legal na organisasyon (many in the legal organisations)—mga lider magsasaka (farmer leaders)—were being killed,” said Barug Katungod Mindanao spokesperson Ryan Amper on Wednesday at a rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo.
About a hundred people staged a protest at the gate of the military’s main headquarters in Quezon City, expressing their criticisms of martial law in Mindanao and the supposed killings of the military.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte formally declared members of the CPP-NPA-NDF as terrorists. Peace negotiations with communist rebels were recently terminated by the government following the supposed stepped up attacks against security forces.
Amper also expressed anxiety over the proclamation on communist rebels as terrorists that could lead to a crackdown.
“Kaya sa pagdeklara ni (So with the declaration by) President Rodrigo Duterte na terorista yung (that the) CPP-NPA-NDF (are terrorists), posible at kasama yung (it is possible that it goes with a) crackdown. Yung pagpatay kay Fr. Tito Paez, yung pagpatay kay Pastor sa Mindoro, yun po ay mga patunay na hindi lamang armed yung kanilang target kundi pati kami, kasama pati mga bata, magsasaka at mamamayang Moro sa tina-target nilang yun (The killings of Fr. Tito Paez and a pastor in Mindanao are proofs that they are targeting not only armed but also us, including children, farmers and Moros),” Amper said.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, also said the communist rebels are not terrorists but a revolutionary group.
“Sa alam namin hindi sila terrorists. Sila ay revolutionary group tulad ng (What we know is that they are not terrorists. They are a revolutionary group like the) MILF, MNLF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front.] Isang panganib yung ginagawang practice na pagta-tag sa civilian bilang members ng NPA bilang justification para kulong, i-massacre ang mga ordinaryong civilian (It is dangerous to tag civilians as NPA members as justification to jail and massacre ordinary civilians),” she said.
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