DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The top regional officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) claimed that the agency is in possession of a list of individuals, companies and government officials that are supporting the Communist Party in the region.
On Wednesday, regional director Alex Roldan, who also heads the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) secretariat, said the DILG now has a copy of the list of people and entities supporting or giving revolutionary tax to the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines (NPA–CPP) in the Davao region.
The DILG’s list was derived from a document provided by President Rodrigo Duterte which identifies personalities who have ties with NPA-CPP.
Roldan said the list was validated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and identifies individuals from the business sector as well as local government officials and employees.
“Right now, our focus is to stop them from supporting the left side. That is why I am saying that even the Haran or your personal pictures are being used for fundraising outside the country,” Roldan said.
Roldan was referring to religious group United Church of Christ of the Philippines’ Haran Center, which serves as a refuge to more than 400 Lumad fleeing from militarization in their homes in Davao del Norte and North Cotabato.
In the Davao region, Roldan said the list consists of names of mayors, vice-mayors, and barangay officials, although he refused to name these government officials. He also added that in Davao City, a barangay kagawad whose name he did not mention was identified by the agency to have links with the NPA.
Roldan, however, clarified that as of this time there is no plan to file cases against the individuals whose names appear on the list.
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao challenged the agency to make the list public, together with the president’s so-called “drug watch list.”
Jay Apiag, the group’s spokesperson, said claims about a “so-called list” are not surprising under the current administration, and that previous administrations also claimed having similar lists.
“They are making claims based on suspicions. They are very good at script writing. We challenge them to release the list,” said Apiag.
The group also stated that the list is being used to carry out a “psychological warfare” on the public, in the same way that state forces are active in social media sites fabricating stories and images of “alleged NPA surrenderees” with “poor editing and storytelling.”
Karapatan-Southern Mindanao also questioned the DILG’s condemnation of individuals who allegedly support the NPA while being silent on President Duterte’s active engagement with the armed Left when he was still the mayor of Davao City.
“Duterte was very vocal and active in facilitating the release of prisoners of war during his mayoral stint. How come the military and DILG does not condemn him?”Apiag added.(davaotoday.com)