MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it sees nothing wrong with the posting and display of tarpaulins or messages denouncing communist rebels or terrorist groups all over the country because speech or expression is protected under the Constitution.
“The expressions of sentiment against CPP/NPA/NDF [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front] atrocities are free speech and are legally protected under the Constitution. Remember, these are the terrorists’ groups driven by an archaic ideology who have been killing our police and soldiers and extorting from innocent civilians for the past 50 years. It is just right that people denounce them for their crimes against the people,” said Secretary Eduardo Año.
“If you are not a member of the CPP/NPA/NDF, then you have nothing to worry about. How can these be ‘red-tagging’ when they are Communists or Reds by their own admission,” he said.
He added that it was CPP founder Joma Sison, who is comfortably in-exile in The Netherlands, who red-tagged the groups in the first place so they should complain to their leader and not to the government.
“In Belgium, Sison clearly named their open sectoral front organizations as part of their United Front building. Unmasking these groups controlled and directed by the Communist Party of the Philippines through party branches embedded in them is the solemn duty of government. Otherwise, we will not be doing our duty,” he said.
Previously, tarpaulins and banners declaring CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata sprouted along Roxas Boulevard and other areas in Metro Manila.
“I believe these tarpaulins are mere expressions of citizens or certain groups that they are fed up with abuses and atrocities perpetrated by the CPP/NPA/NDF. I welcome such kind of expression to send the message to the CPP/NPA/NDF that they are not welcome in the national capital region, just like what other provinces, cities, and municipalities all over the country,” Año said.
“We encourage all LGUs and other organizations fed up with the lies, deceitfulness, and atrocities of the CPP/NPA/NDF to place their own tarpaulins and billboards to send a strong message that their terrorism and criminal acts are not tolerated by the people,” he added.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said 20,085 local government units nationwide –60 provinces, 96 cities, 1,204 municipalities, and 18,698 barangays– have issued resolutions declaring the CPP/NPA/NDF as persona-non-grata or unwelcome in their respective LGUs.
In the National Capital Region, the cities of Mandaluyong and Muntinlupa have passed resolutions against the CPP/NPA/NDF as well.
Malaya said the CPP/NPA/NDF has been declared in the country as a terrorist group through Proclamation 374 s. 2017 while other countries like the US, New Zealand, UK, Australia, the European Union have also declared them as terrorist organizations.
He said the communist movement in the country has lost a lot of support.
In fact, some 297 NPA rebels, militia ng bayan, and members of CPP underground mass organizations recently surrendered in Eastern Mindanao after intensified police and military operations in the area.
The surrenders yielded various firearms and subversive documents.
“All the surrenderers will receive financial and other assistance from the government through the Enhanced Comprehensive Integration Program (ECLIP) of the DILG. This will allow them to go back to mainstream society and live productive and peaceful lives,” Malaya said. (PR)