CPP says NTF-ELCAC/AFP coddling criminal paramilitary groups against IPs

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and its newly-installed “spokesperson for IP concerns” for “wasting people’s money in spreading outrageous lies against the CPP and NPA.”

This was in reaction to claims by the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson today that the New People’s Army (NPA) “brutally killed” 20 IPs in 2020 citing the death of Jumar Bucales as one of the incidents.

CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena said “the NTF-ELCAC is lying through its teeth and seems to be in a rush to propagate lies using its new mouthpieces.”

Valbuena clarified that Bucales is a known leader of the AFP-armed Magahat-Bagani paramilitary group. Along with three armed paramilitary troops, he was killed in armed battle with the NPA on October 4, 2020 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The Magahat-Bagani is a tool used by the 3rd Special Forces Battalion in combat and psywar operations against peasant communities.

“Bucales is not an innocent and helpless civilian, contrary to how he is being portrayed by the NTF-ELCAC,” added Valbuena.

Investigations have determined the widely known fact that Bucales and his armed band masterminded the bloody Lianga Massacre of 2015 in which three community leaders were murdered. Armed paramilitaries swooped down the village at dawn and successively killed Emerito Samarca, Executive Director of the ALCADEV community school, and Lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo.

Valbuena denounced the NTF-ELCAC and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for coddling criminal paramilitary groups to oppress indigenous peoples and drive them away from their ancestral lands.

“It is a gross insult to the Lumad communities, specifically those in Surigao del Sur, that the NTF-ELCAC and AFP coddled Bucales and made him appear to represent the interests of the Lumad people, when his paramilitary group is known to be a collaborator of big mining companies in attacking the Lumad community school and village organizations defending their ancestral land.”

Valbuena clarified that indigenous people (IP) paramilitary groups armed and supported by the AFP are legitimate military targets of the NPA. “The NPA is an army of peasants and minority people. It will continue to fight to defend their interests against land grabbers and big mining companies, plantations and destructive dam projects,” said Valbuena.

“For more than four years now, Duterte and his military cabal in the NTF-ELCAC have intensified their attacks against national minorities,” added Valbuena. He cited the massacre of nine Tumandoks in Tapaz, Capiz in December 30, 2020 and the arrest of 17 others, charging of Aetas under the terror law, and the murder of Dumagats in the recent Bloody Sunday in Southern Tagalong as among the recent cases.

“The regime continues to target national minorities as they defend their ancestral lands from entry of destructive dam projects, plantations, and multinational mining operations,” Valbuena ended.

CPP says NTF-ELCAC/AFP coddling criminal paramilitary groups against IPs