Malacañang said on December 14, 2020, members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) have no basis to accuse the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of forcing local government units (LGUs) to declare communist rebels “persona non grata”.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said LGUs did not need to be “forced” to do anything since nobody supported terrorists in the first place.
“Huwag silang magalit sa mga LGU na nagparatang na sila ay ‘persona non grata’ dahil in this civilized world, wala po talagang humahanga sa mga terorista (They shouldn’t be mad at LGUs for declaring them persona non grata because in this civilized world, nobody admires terrorists),” he said.
Long before the LGUs declared them as persona non grata, he said the US State Department had already classified them as terrorists.
“Eh talaga pong walang basehan iyong ganiyang paratang laban sa DILG. Unang-una, hindi naman po DILG at mga LGUs ang nagdideklara sa kanila ng ‘persona non grata’. Ang una US state department ang tawag nga nila sa CPP-NPA – terorista! Kung terorista, iwi-welcome mo pa ba sila (Their accusations against DILG have no basis. First, it’s not the DILG and LGUs that were first to declare them as persona non grata. The US State Department was the first to classify them as terrorists),” he said.
Roque, meanwhile, urged communist rebels to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
He said it is better to focus on parliamentary struggle, instead of armed struggle.
“Ibaba na ninyo ang inyong armas, magtutok na lang kayo sa parliamentary struggle nahahalal naman kayo sa Kongreso, damihan ninyo ang hanay ninyo roon, nang sa ganoon magkaroon ng pagbabago. Itigil na po iyang patayan lalung-lalo na kung ang papatayin naman ninyo ay kapuwa ninyong mahirap na Pilipino rin (Lay down your arms and focus on parliamentary struggle, you get elected in Congress, add more members there, that way there would be change. Stop the killings especially if the victims are also poor Filipinos like you),” he said.
On Sunday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said it is “preposterous” for the CPP to insinuate that LGUs are being forced to issue such declaration, noting that LGUs are not stupid puppets.
“Please do not insult the intelligence of our local government officials. Hindi mangmang ang mga LGUs at hindi sila madidiktahan na gumawa ng mga bagay na labag sa kanilang kalooban. Ang katotohanan ay mulat ang mga mata nila at saksi sila sa panloloko ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa kanilang mga lugar (LGUs are not ignorant and they will not be dictated upon to do something against their will. The truth is they know and are witness to CPP-NPA-NDF’s deception in their areas,” he said.
On the contrary, Año said LGUs are very much aware of the situation on the ground and the communist terror groups’ harassment and extortion activities.
“Kaya hindi naman nakapagtataka na ideklara ng higit sa 1,500 LGUs na persona non grata ang mga criminal at teroristang ito dahil matagal na silang nagpapahirap sa bayan at salot sa lipunan (So it’s not surprising that over 1,500 LGUs declared these criminals and terrorists persona non grata because they (CTGs) have been terrorizing the people and are considered plague to the society),” he added.
The DILG earlier said a total of 1,546 LGUs nationwide have declared the CPP-NPA-NDF persona non grata in their localities.
In response, the CPP released a statement saying that the said LGUs were merely forced to pass the declaration otherwise their budget would be withheld.
He said the CPP’s attempt to connect the persona non grata issue to budget allocation for LGUs is straight out of a “teleserye” (television series) narrative. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)