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Army general to Karapatan: ‘Sinungaling, mandurugas!’

LE October 09, 2023

Brigadier General Randolph Cabangbang, commanding general of the 203rd Infantry Brigade, on Monday (October 9) castigated front organization Karapatan for spreading lies surrounding the recent capture of three communist terrorists in Oriental Mindoro and for using the issue to amass money through an “alert-surface-donation-release” (ASDR) scheme. “Mga sinungaling kayo, mga mandurugas,” Cabangbang said during a virtual press conference by the Integrated Communications Office Center (ICOC), the media bureau of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). In the same press conference, Director-designate Joel Sy Egco, ICOC head and NTF-ELCAC spokesman, also lambasted Karapatan for duping the public calling the captured rebels – Alia Encela, Peter del Monte and Job David – as “IP advocates” (Indigenous People). “They are fake IP advocates. Hindi nga nila (3 rebels) alam na IP advocates sila, ang alam nila ay NPA (New People’s Army) sila,” Egco told the media. This was affirmed by Cabangbang, saying that even the three were stunned when they learned Karapatan was calling them IP advocates. Egco said Karapatan and other communist terrorist groups (CTGs) use the “ASDR” template not only to generate funds to aid terror activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing NPA, but also as a tool to recruit from the youth sector as young as junior and senior high school students and out-of-school youth (OSY) from vulnerable communities. “The three are not aware they’re IP advocates,” said Cabangbang, even as he urged the public not to subscribe to the donation campaign of the CTGs. He also set the record straight that the three NPA rebels were not abducted by presenting a video of the location where Encela, del Monte and David were captured in a legitimate military operation on October 3, 2023 in Sitio Malaglag, Barangay Lisap in Bongabong town. Cabangbang emphasized the three were not abducted or a case of enforced disappearance. “It is very impossible na lalakarin namin ng tatlong araw para lang mangidnap ng kung sinuman na wala namang nakatira diyan. If you are an IP advocate, dun ka mag-advocacy sa community ng mga Mangyan,” he said. Encela, David and del Monte are facing a case for violation of Republic Act 8294, or illegal possession and manufacture of explosive devices, a non-bailable offense. Also in the press conference were the parents of the captured rebels who expressed their gratitude to Cabangbang’s unit for taking care of their children. “(It’s) an answered prayer,” said Mr. Jerome Christopher David, father of Job, in a recorded video of him played by ICOC during the conference. “Inamin ng anak ko na hindi sila political prisoners, hindi sila nakakulong. Nandoon sila (sa kampo) sa kanilang freewill,” said David, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), supporting Cabangbang’s statement that the three were not detained but in voluntary custody of his brigade. He said he last saw his son in 2012 while the latter was still studying at the University of the Philippines (UP). Since then Job only sent them text messages once in a while. “Halos mamatay-matay kami sa pag-alala sa kanya. Salamat kay Gen. Cabangbang sa pagkupkop sa kanya ngayon. Nagpapasalamat din kami sa pag-alis niya sa NPA,” he said. Mr. David expressed regrets for his son’s decision to join the NPA at early age that eventually destroyed his “career path”. “Ang pagsali niya sa kilusan ay walang kabuluhan,” he said. Mrs. Liana Encela, mother of Alia, for her part, also expressed gratitude to Cabangbang for taking care of her daughter. “Nagpapasalamat po ako dahil nasagip nila ang bata. Maayos po ang kalagayan ng anak ko, ‘di po totoo ang sinasabi nila na pinapahirapan sila,” she said. Vice-Chairperson of the Hands Off Our Children Movement (HOOCM) Luisa Espina whose daughter joined and still with the NPA blamed other front organizations like the League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anakbayan, Kabataan party-list, College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP), National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and also Bayan, Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Kadamay, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), among others, as culprits of misguiding their sons and daughters to the true essence of love of country. Espina said the HOOCM was founded “to protect the Filipino family from being victimized by the deceptive recruitment of the legal front organizations of (the) CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF)”. She told the media about the “recruitment pattern” of the CPP-NPA-NDF front organizations that usually intensified months before the anniversary of the CPP every 26th of December. Espina said that as young as 15-year-olds are being recruited and radicalized and when they reach 16, they’re sent for immersion to NPA mass bases; at age 17 these recruits were being assigned to underground movement in preparation to becoming an NPA fighters at age 18. “Bago mag-December 26, ninanakawan na tayo ng anak ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” Espina said. Other mothers like Zeny, Annabelle and Mary have their own stories to tell about their love ones who joined and bolted the NPA. Zeny’s daughter, Kate Raca, who joined the NPA in Palawan but surrendered in December 2021 is now set for official training to join the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). Annabelle’s son who was captured in 2019 in Las Navas, Northern Samar is now Private Rey Christian Sabado in the Philippine Army. “Kung nauto niyo ang anak ko noon, ‘di niyo ako mauuto,” said Annabelle, reacting to the recruitment scheme of the CTGs. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco 09155506969 October 9, 2023


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