SOMEWHERE IN COMPOSTELA VALLEY – A guerrilla leader here said that celebrating the Communist Party of the Philippines 46th founding anniversary “is a show of force and unity” against perceived government neglect in typhoon Pablo-hit areas.
Ka Simon Santiago of New People’s Army Comval-Davao East Coast Sub Regional Command, told news reporters “the purpose of our celebration is to show our force and unity to the people who were neglected by the government amidst the crisis and poverty they felt especially in areas hit by Typhoon Pablo.”
Ka Simon said that a year after Typhoon Pablo pounded Compostela province, “ninety-percent of these Pablo-stricken communities are still yet to recover because of government’s slow response.”
“The New People’s Army is extending assistance to help rebuild these communities and through this we are showing our unity in the people’s cause to claim for just living,” said Ka Simon.
One way of helping these communities, Ka Simon cited, is the New People’s Army implementation of total log ban which gained approval from the people in various communities.
“The total log ban is implemented because logging operations in Compostela Valley wouldn’t do good at all and we are happy that the people remained firm on this issue,” Ka Simon said.
“Although there were some who violated it at first but eventually they obeyed it after we explained to them why the log ban is being implemented,” Ka Simon added.
For Tatay Melvin, a farmer who attended the CPP’s anniversary celebration, he said “logging is not really the source of our livelihood but farming. We must implement the total log ban because it serves no other purpose but the destruction of the environment and of our livelihood.”
He said that “communal farming is our priority to achieve sustainable food supply. We need to till our own lands so that we could be productive.”
Ka Simon said that “the CPP would want to teach the people in these communities on how to value and protect their own lands amid the persistent threats of large scale mining and illegal logging in Compostela Valley province”.
Ka Simon claimed that the reported entry of Agusan-Petroleum Mining Corporation “will only result to dislocation of farmers and destruction of their livelihood and of the environment.”
“The people are firm to defend their land because their livelihood is dependent on the lands that they tilled. Their land is a way to regain their lost livelihood when they were victimized by typhoon Pablo. We are one with them in fighting for the same cause,” said Ka Simon (davaotoday.com)