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Legal fronts' denouncement to help defeat Reds: Esperon

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

National Security Adviser and NTF ELCAC vice chairperson, Hermogenes Esperon Jr. (Screengrab from NTF-ELCAC virtual presser)

MANILA – The security threats being posed by the communist terrorist groups would be greatly eroded once legal fronts supporting them start denouncing them for their atrocities.

Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., National Security Adviser and National Task Force Against Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) vice chairperson, made this remark when asked what parameters should be met before the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) can be considered defeated.

"Perhaps if the Makabayan Bloc or (the) legal fronts that are backing them up, would start denouncing their violence and this organization would eventually follow what is normal in Europe, like for example if you are a member of the communist parties of one of the countries of Europe, you do not go into armed revolution, you stand in Congress and debate with the other parties but never go towards armed struggle or armed revolution, yun ang pagkakaiba ng communist party sa Europaat iba pang mga lugar (that is the difference between the communist party in Europe and other places)," he said during Monday's "TAGGED: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth" online press conference.

Founded in 2009, the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan or Makabayan bloc is a coalition of 12 party-lists in the House of Representatives.

Current members of the group serving as lawmakers are Eufemia Cullamat, Ferdinand Gaite and Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Sara Elago (Kabataan Party-list), France Castro (ACT Teachers Party-list), and Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Party).

In the Philippines, Esperon said, the CPP controls the NPA, its armed wing, that is primarily responsible for the atrocities committed against innocent civilians.

He added that there is no such armed component in Europe.

"So ang hamon namin dito sa mga sabi nila progressive ideas, progressive minds, ay can you condemn the violence of the NPAs, if you cannot, are you friends with them, or are you supporting them, yun lang naman ang tanong namin. Kung magagawa nyong i-condemn yan, tapos ang usapan natin, you go to parliamentary struggle or you market your idea(s), let's us see if you are ideas are better than the democratic principles that we know of (So our challenge to those claiming to have progressive ideas, 'Can you condemn the violence of the NPA?', if you cannot, are you friends with them or are you supporting them? that is our only question, if you can condemn them, our talk is finished, you can go into parliamentary struggle or market your ideas, let's us see if you are ideas are better than the democratic principles that we know of)," he added.

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.

Esperon said there is a need to reduce further the CPP's armed component as this is the tool being used for extortion and atrocities such as killings and arson committed against innocent civilians in the countryside.

"Ako (me), personally, if we could reduce the strength by another 1,500, then (they) become a concern for the police, parang ano na sila, nagiging bandido na sila (they will just become a group of bandits)," he added.

At present, the NPA's has around 4,000 members, or lower by 1,000 when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016. (PNA)



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