By ALDWIN QUITASOL
POSTED BY Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) — The leader of a Cordillera-based underground revolutionary group said the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army is in the same sinking boat as the Ampatuan private army and other armed groups pampered by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration.
In a statement sent to the media, Simeon “Ka-Filiw” Naogsan, a government engineer-turned-spokesman of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF), said the most recent in the long-running series of splits in the CPLA led to the formation of a ‘new and reformed group’. “But it is composed of the same old opportunist elements,” stated Naogsan.
According to Naogsan, the ouster of Mailed Molina and the new group headed by Arsenio Humiding is a result of a quarrel within the CPLA. Naogsan added that the same thing repeatedly happened to the CPLA in the past as various factions squabbled over funds, weapons and jobs in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“As an armed group devoid of any ideological mooring, the CPLA serves as a special paramilitary force for AFP counter-insurgency operations in the region. Its members were involved in horrible human rights violations such as the abduction, torture, and murder of Cordillera Bodong Association chairman and Cordillera People’s Alliance vice-chairman Ama Daniel Ngayaan and the killings of scores of Cordillera activists and civilians,” Naogsan said.
Naogsan added that various factions of the CPLA serve in the private armies of warlord-politicians in Abra and other Cordillera provinces. He said that CPLA members serve in the private army used by the Dy clan in land-grabbing in Isabela province. Naogsan said that in the past years, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been complaining about the armed robberies, extortion, illegal logging, land-grabbing, drug-dealing, gambling protection rackets and other crimes committed by the CPLA.
“The current CPLA interim leadership keeps on harping on the same tired issues of the integration of more of their members into the AFP and the continuation of their supposed peace-talks with the government. This underscores their confused and laughable position. Peace talks are held between adversaries. The CPLA is not an adversary of the government. In fact, the CPLA is pleading for more of their members to be integrated into the reactionary armed forces,” said Naogsan.
Naogsan said the CPLA even raises the issue of their imaginary peace talks and their threats of going back to the hills whenever they demand more financial assistance and projects from the government. He lambasted the CPLA and he said they should be ashamed calling themselves rebels or a “liberation army”. Naogsan said that the CPLA is simply a criminal armed group being used by the military in counter-insurgency operations against the New People’s Army (NPA), the rest of the revolutionary movement and the people.
“The CPDF calls upon the public not to be deceived and to vigorously reject the purported new and reformed CPLA. It is nothing more than an armed gang of lapdogs begging for crumbs from an increasingly isolated regime. The CPLA must be immediately disarmed, disbanded, and punished for the various abuses and human rights violations it committed against the Cordillera people!” Naogsan said. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat)