GUIMBA, Nueva Ecija — The 11-man Sangguniang Bayan (SB) in this town approved a resolution declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), persona non grata.
The resolution was unanimously approved by the SB during its second regular session held on Monday afternoon and presided over by Vice Mayor Jesulito Galapon, with all the other 10 SB members present.
Prior to its approval, the SB moved to temporarily “suspend the rules” to give way to the military, particularly the 69th Infantry Battallion under Lt. Col. Arcadio Posada, to explain President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70 and the role of the local government units in helping end local communist armed conflict by institutionalizing the “whole of nation approach through the creation of a national task force.”
During the deliberation, councilor Virgilio Fabros, a retired police colonel formerly assigned as provincial director of Ilocos Sur, deplored the rebel group for allegedly forming a “shadow government” in the barangays by appointing village officials to head their barangay version of political structure which he described as the “Barangay Rebolusyonaryong Komite.”
Fabros also turned the tables on the CPP-NPA, saying it is actually the rebels and not the military doing the “militarization” in the barangays.
“Actually, kung tutuusin ang CPP-NPA, sila ang nagtatatag ng militarisasyon sa mga bara-barangay, kapag naitayo na nila itong Barangay Rebolusyonaryong Komite, iyan militarisasyon na ng barangay, susundin na ng barangay. Ang barangay and rebolusyonaryong komite at hindi na ang existing barangay officials. Kaya ang NPA ang gumagawa ng militarisasyon. Hangga’t maaari, ayaw nila ng may military personnel sa mga barangay,” Fabros explained.
1st Lt. Muhammad Johaiman Manda, team leader of the 69th IB who spoke during the SB session, said they were deployed in the town because Guimba is one of the “focal points” of the rebel group’s organizing and recruitment activities.
Manda denied the allegation of militarization, saying they did not force their way into the barangays. He said their deployment had prior clearance and full blessings of the civilian authority from the municipal level down to the barangays.