“Rodrigo Duterte should not be deflected by this obvious AFP bullying and must continue with his pro-people stance” — Rubi del Mundo, NDFP spokesman in Southern Mindanao
By MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN
DAVAO CITY, Philippines –The tough-talking vice mayor who’s been receiving brickbats allegedly from the military for helping the victims of typhoon Pablo in a guerilla zone somewhere in Compostela Valley has found support from his son and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), no less.
“Rodrigo Duterte should not be deflected by this obvious AFP bullying and must continue with his pro-people stance,” Rubi del Mundo, NDFP spokesman in Southern Mindanao said in a statement.
On December 26, Duterte flew to an interior village in Compostela Valley. He was the guest of honor during the 44th anniversary celebration of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). There, he handed financial help to the Pablo victims in the area through the New People’s Army (NPA).
Days later, a video accusing Duterte of giving an annual tax of PHP 125 million to the NPA was posted on YouTube, a social networking site.
But in a press conference Tuesday, Duterte answered allegations against him. He said the amount of money he gave to help the Pablo victims come from a philanthropist and not from the public coffers. He also denied paying “revolutionary tax” to the communist movement.
His son Paolo, the president of the Association of Barangay Captains, also came to his father’s defense.
“I don’t think he’s using public funds (for a specific) cause is against the law,” the younger Duterte told davaotoday.com in a text. He added that his father would not hand out financial help if “there’s no specific purpose like hospitalization.”
The vice mayor suspected that a military official is behind this recent attack against his person. The NDF thinks the same, albeit, it scored the Eastern Mindanao Command’s “fascist generals and the military intelligence community.”
“These warmongering agents in the US-Aquino regime sow the intrigue of revolutionary taxation to malign Duterte, undermine his politics, and indirectly warn other individuals that they would suffer the same intrigue-sowing and defamation should they relate with the revolutionary forces or with the New People’s Army,” Del Mundo said.
“Mali ata ina-attack ng military,” Paolo, Duterte’s son, said.
The NDF has also urged “well-intentioned individuals” not to be intimidated with the “red scare tactics” because, it pointed out, “millions of farmers, workers, Lumads, women, children and elderly in the affected areas badly need help.”
‘Exploiting the tragedy’
NDF’s Del Mundo said that the AFP “exploited” the tragedy that is Pablo to push its counter-insurgency plan, Bayanihan, deploying four brigades under two Army divisions in Southern Mindanao. The communist spokesman added that 602nd Brigade “has redirected two of its battalions against the NPA in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.”
The GPH and CPP both declared ceasefire until January 15, mainly, as confidence-building measure for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the NDFP.
Del Mundo said that the AFP’s continuing combat and intelligence operations is a direct violation to the ceasefire.
Del Mundo also scored the AFP because it wants to “project itself as heroes and custodian of all relief activities,” that is why, it added, the military resorted to intrigue-sowing against individuals who made independent efforts to help the victims, including Duterte and other organizations.
Del Mundo said they’ve been seeking the support of individuals and institutions who want to help the Pablo victims regain their lands, jobs and livelihood.
The People’s Democratic Government, according to the NDF statement, has issued a directive for the “methodical distribution of food supplies, carpentry and building of damaged houses, clearing of devastated farmlands, putting up of mobile health clinics and psychotherapy, conduct of feeding program for children and elderly, building of schools and daycare centers, and putting up of seedlings nurseries for reforestation.” (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)