CAMP MAJOR BADO DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet — After statements from Leonardo Pacsi Command-NPA Mountain Province, its now the turn of the self-styled Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front to issue a deceitful statement entitled “KUNDENAREN TI PAMMUTBUTENG KEN PANAGRANGGAS TI MILITAR ITI MT. PROVINCE!” (Condemn Military Scare Tactics and Violence in Mountain Province). The irony is not lost to the people of Mountain Province because the scare tactics and violence they have experienced in the past five years have been perpetrated by the New Peoples Army. These have led to resolutions by all ten (10) municipalities declaring the New Peoples Army as Persona Non Grata in the entire Mountain Province.

The CPDF statement alleges “back-to-back cases” of human rights violations, and proliferation of ‘fake news” or black propaganda throughout the province, but are unable to cite specific cases. Instead it cites an extortion case in Sagada, which interestingly surfaces the massive extortion effort of the NPA on contractors, business establishments, and even newly-elected and appointed officials throughout the different provinces in the entire Cordillera region. As one victim says, the NPA perpetuates corruption by forcing contractors to short-change their projects to be able to give “revolutionary taxes” resulting in sub-standard roads and buildings.

The statement claims it is only now that the “people” of Besao have learned BIMAKA Renewable Energy Development Co. (BREDCO) have brought in materials for the construction of its mini-hydro project. The truth of the matter is that the people kept the NPA in the dark so as to prevent them from extorting the company and sabotaging the project. Ironically, it vilifies the existence of the hydropower plant in Sabangan but continues to extort the company running it. Clearly the NPA and CPDF are hypocrites!

This arrogant NPA statement goes on to spread disinformation that the Cordillera Exploration Company, Inc. will enter and affect 15 municipalities of Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur. Validation on the veracity of this claim shows that said company had applied for exploration but no approval has been given due to existing government moratoriums. Such claim is therefore nothing but a lie to divert the people’s desire for the NPA to leave the province.

The rest of the statement are ridiculous complaints of military operations and presence of Community Support and Peace-keeping Teams (CSPTs) in different barangays. As the people of Mountain Province say, the CPDF and NPA cannot accept that it is their presence and failure to obey the peoples will of declaring them persona non grata that continues to bring the military to the barangays of the province. (PROCOR RPIO)