Joma perennial ‘red-tagger’ of CPP-NPA allies: Esperon
By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison is the one with the habit of “red-tagging allies and affiliates of the communist terrorist groups.
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) vice-chair and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. made this comment after noting Sison in his message during the 48th founding anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NFFP) last April 24 hailed anew the role of its 18 allied organization
"The organization Sison identified are those which comprises the underground movement that lead, operationalize and infiltrate the front and open organizations that are set up or otherwise infiltrated," Esperon said in an online briefing Monday.
In his online speech during the NDFP anniversary, Sison identified the NDFP allied organizations the CPP, NPA, Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Manggagawa, Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid, Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan, Kabataang Makabayan, Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan, Makabayang Samahang Pangkalusugan, Liga ng Agham para sa Bayan, Lupon ng Manananggol para sa Bayan, Artista at Manunulat para sa Sambayanan, Makabayang Kawaning Pilipino, Revolutionary Organization of Overseas Filipinos and their Families, Christians for National Liberation, Cordillera People’s Democratic Front, Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization and Revolutionary Organization of Lumads.
"The NDFP’s most important role in the democratic revolution is to arouse, organize, and mobilize the broad masses of Filipino people in the tens of millions and to seek international solidarity, support, and cooperation," Sison was quoted as saying.
Through their recruitment efforts, Esperon said it is the NDFP that provides radicalized combatants and logistics for the CPP-NPA in its pursuit of armed rebellion against the government.
The April 24 speech of Sison, he added, confirmed that their so-called democratic revolution is an armed struggle with the goal of violently overthrowing the country's democratic and duly-elected government.
"This is also a blatant admission from the founder and chairman emeritus himself that the CPP-NPA-NDF and its affiliate groups have long conspired to topple the Philippine government and its democratic institutions in an attempt to seize power," he added.
It can be recalled that during last year’s Senate hearings on red-tagging, it was conclusively proven that it was Sison who has been red-tagging these organizations all along and not the government.
"We recall that the separate Senate hearings on red-tagging last year were especially significant in corroborating our claim that it is Sison himself who has been red-tagging these organizations all along. These hearings exposed the front organizations and so-called 'progressive organizations'," Esperon said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
"Joma Sison had just red-tagged his own cohorts through his admission and the statement in the video just shown. In turn, we shall truth-tag them so that the public will be informed," Esperon said.
It is not the first time that Sison has willingly identified the affiliates and allies of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
During an international conference in Belgium in 1987, Sison identified the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, League of Filipino Students, and KADENA as part of the CPP-NPA’s democratic forces in advancing their Philippine revolution.
BDP funds being released to LGUs
Meanwhile, Esperon said funds for the development of 822 barangays cleared of CPP-NPA influence are now being released.
"To date, the PHP16.44 billion (Barangay Development Fund) allocated for the 822 barangays is now being released to local chief executives in provinces and cities where the barangays cleared of the NPA are located in accordance with DBM (Department of Budget Management) Local Circular 135 and 135-A," he added.
The BDP’s core programs and projects for each recipient barangay, which would receive PHP20 million, include a one-kilometer farm-to-market road worth PHP12 million, classrooms (PHP3 million), water and sanitation systems (PHP2 million), a health station (PHP1.5 million), and livelihood projects (PHP1.5 million).
"From 2016 to 2019, we have cleared 822 former rebel communities by dismantling the Guerilla Fronts that have exerted control over them. These communities are now in the process of transforming their formerly conflict-vulnerable barangays into areas of peace and empowerment," Esperon said.
He added that as of May 4 this year, PHP10.68 billion or 65 percent of the BDP has been released to 712 barangays out of the 822 earlier reported cleared of CPP-NPA influence.
"110 are in the process of endorsing their projects to the DBM," he said.
He called the fast release of the BDP funds is a testament to the sense of urgency of local government units that have complied with the requirements of the fund.
"Indeed the immediate compliance of the LGUs (local government units) are hallmarks of good governance and efficiency," Esperon added.
He said they hope to improve their processes with the recommendation of 1,406 CPP-NPA cleared barangays for the BDP for the 2022 budget.
These barangays were cleared of communist influence from 2020 to 2021. (PNA)