NDF-EV condemns AFP’s attacks on local officials as revealing who is the real persona non grata

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas today condemned the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division for attacking or coercing the GRP’s civilian officials and local government units into declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as “persona non grata.”

“We denounce the fascist military led by Maj. Gen. Pio Dinoso III and the Department of Interior and Local Government led by ex-military chief Eduardo Año for orchestrating persona non grata declarations by the GRP’s local government units under duress,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas. “These declarations are thus hogwash. Furthermore, we support the demand for justice for civilian officials who have been killed or harassed to compel their submission to Executive Order 70 that essentially violated democracy by dictating military supremacy over the civilian government .”

The NDF-EV spokesperson then noted, “In Northern Samar, no less than five barangay officials have been killed this year, widely suspected to be the doing of the 803rd IBde led by Brig. Gen. Ramil Bitong. These include San Miguel, Las Navas Barangay Chairman Apolinario “Pening” Lebico, Bobon Barangay Chairman Joselito Zaide, Jr., Barangay Chairman Bolon Tiopento in Lope de Vega, Barangay Council Member Allan Barcelon in Catarman, and most recently Rombang, Lao-ang Barangay Chairman Carmelito Baluyot last August 19. The military also forces local officials to fund the fake surrenders of ordinary civilians who are paraded as NPA members.”

Fr. Salas added, “In Western Samar, elements of the 63rd IB threatened to massacre barangay officials and their constituents in Bay-ang, San Jorge when residents refused to return to their homes after fleeing from the aerial bombings and strafing by soldiers last January. In March, soldiers from the 87th IB forced barangay officials from San Jose de Buan (whose residents also evacuated from their village swarmed by soldiers) to attend a “peace rally” where they were made to surrender as members of the NPA.

“Duterte’s trooops also committed electioneering by backing pro-military mayoralty candidates, who lost in San Jose de Buan but won in Matuguinao. Meanwhile, Barangay Chairman Wilmar Calutan of Beri, Calbiga, was killed last April 25 by assailants whom many witnesses identified as elements of the 46th IB after a successful NPA offensive on the said military unit.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also called attention to Leyte, where persona non grata declarations, anti-communist “peace rallies,” “peace and development” operations and other anti-democratic measures are widely employed by the Army’s 802nd IBde led by Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy.

Fr. Salas concluded, “The arrogant dictates on the civilian bureaucracy and the use of violence against local officials go to show the real persona non grata is none other than Rodrigo Duterte and his fascist military. They have no legal and political basis to declare the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata. The local government units of the GRP and the people’s democratic government do not even openly relate with each other. Meanwhile, the masses of the people warmly welcome the NPA their homes and communities. The people know the NPA is fighting for national freedom and social liberation. In the eyes of the people, the truly undesirable ones are the US-Duterte regime and its military. Duterte himself is most contemptible as a traitor and sell-out twice over to Chinese and US imperialism.

“The military has no right to force the local government and the people to do their dirty job, in the name of whole-of-nation or -government approach. On the other hand, the local officials and government units and the people are entirely correct in asserting their democratic rights, resisting militarization by all possible means, and bringing Duterte and his bloodthirsty armed minions to account.”#

NDF-EV condemns AFP’s attacks on local officials as revealing who is the real persona non grata