PRRD calls on village chiefs to resist CPP-NPA

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DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte is calling on barangay officials and tribal leaders to strongly resist the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and cooperate with the government in ending the communist insurgency in the country.

President Duterte made the call and voiced concerns over the continued harassment by the CPP-NPA in the countryside in his speech during the Barangay Summit on Good Governance on Tuesday the Rizal Memorial Colleges Gym here.

An obviously exasperated Duterte lambasted the communist rebels anew for their continued attacks, not only on Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups, but even the families of soldiers and government militiamen.

“We can kill each other but not the children or the wives of the soldiers,” the President said, referring to the December 15 incident in which the NPA shot the wife of a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) member inside their residence in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

“Don’t mess up with families. Dili apil sa prinsipyo sa gobyerno ang asawa ug mga anak (The wives and children are not part of the government),” he said.

Duterte underscored the role of barangay officials in the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, and in the efforts to end the communist rebellion during his term.

The President said barangay officials have a better grasp of their respective areas and know who among their residents are NPA supporters or combatants.

“Alamin ninyo kung sino ang mga militia (Know who are the members of the militia). They are the shadow government,” he said.

Duterte called on barangay officials to fight in defense of their communities.

“Like the police and the military, you are a person of authority,” he told the village leaders, even as he offered to back them up in the performance of their mandate.

The President said the government is “fully-equipped” to fight the CPP-NPA, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

Duterte noted that next to police and military troops, barangay officials are the common target of CPP-NPA atrocities.

“You are well aware of that. They will really kill you,” Duterte said.

The gathering of barangay officials from different cities and towns of Davao region aims to promote awareness about the national government’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, corruption, violent extremism and Federalism; discuss national and local issues affecting barangay governance; and to consider future approaches to strengthening cooperation between the national government and the barangay governments to effectively and efficiently deliver quality services to the public.

It was also attended by the Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representatives (IPMR) in the municipalities and cities, and tribal leaders.

The summit was organized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). -PNA

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