CPLA purges rank of scalawags; talks peace with OPAPP

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The new leadership of the 7,000 combatants of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA), the group that originally signed the peace pact with the government in 1986, urges Cordillerans to inform them of members misrepresenting themselves and are into illegal activities using the group’s name.

Abra Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as, who was elected chairman of the CPLA, on Saturday said: “If somebody is claiming to be a CPLA, doing illegal activities in the Cordillera, just tell us and we will give him the necessary action and discipline.”

As a commitment to peace and order, which the group is advancing, they are pushing for the continued talks on peace with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) to renew their call for autonomy in the Cordillera.

“If there are people who come and squat (in lands), any illegal activities here in Benguet, tell us. That is one of the things we want to be cleansed, the name of the CPLA here in the Cordillera,” he said.

He urged the public to report to them any CPLA member who is into illegal activities.

He talked about one faction of the CPLA whom he described as scalawag group. “Only one has not regrouped, the Mailed Molina group, and we consider them scalawag CPLA,” he said.

He said that in June 24, 2017, about 7,000 members of the CPLA groups from Kalinga, Apayao, Ifugao, Abra, Benguet and some from Mountain Province have joined forces and unified with his group in an event in Abra and gave their support to him as chairman of the unified CPLA, with continued peace with the government as its agenda.

Other officers were also named in the gathering last June.

With the reorganized group, he said, they will work to attain the top agenda of the CPLA when it signed a peace agreement with the national government in 1986. “When we signed the peace agreement with the administration of former President Corazon Aquino in 1986, we laid town a 26-point demand and the number one is autonomy. Until now it is still a priority of the group. That’s why we reorganized ourselves so that we can help in the campaign to push for autonomy,” he said.

He also mentioned that CPLA is continuously talking with the officers of the OPAPP for the closure agreement, which he said will only be attained when autonomy is finally attained. Liza Agoot/PNA-northboundasia.com