CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, June 27 (PIA) — Major General Ronald C. Villanueva, commander of 4th Infantry Division (4ID) Philippine Army shared in Talakayan sa PIA on June 20 that the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) terrorist and communist terrorists’ groups in Northeastern Mindanao are losing because people have been awakened from their lies and deception.
“Bisan unsaon nila sulti karon, wala man tumong ilang pakigbisog (Whatever they say now, there is no goal to their armed struggle), said Villanueva.
He added the country have had this problem for nearly 50 years, “would we like to have this kind of situation for the next 50 years? We have been telling people, wake up!”
There are layers of massive propaganda among these communist groups in the hinterlands and even in schools. Villanueva said they do not compose only of armed groups but they start with the barrios, from National Democratic Front (NDF), the communist party then the NPA. He explained the NPA cannot survive without their political party.
“They have party building, mass-based building, and army building. From the barrio alone, they have communist party list members, recruitment is still from the masses. It’s from the mass-based that they get their party and armed members,” Villanueva explained.
They go to schools because they need intellectuals who will run the political party.
They are branded as terrorists because they are using violence against person or community just to pursue their political, ideological aim, using arms. “Hadlokon tika (I’ll threaten you),” said Villanueva.
They want to get something and the end state is to overthrow the government through armed means, a national democratic revolution.
The AFP continues to de-radicalize these communities.
No government is perfect but he said what we do is to provide them with basic needs.
He said, the issues that are being exploited of them are the socio-economic dissatisfaction and maybe one of the most fertile, issues these terrorists can exploit is agricultural tenure, youth, women, and labor group.
A major effort of the defense department now, he said, is bringing back Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to have that sense of patriotism in the youth.
Another one is organizing youth leaders so that they can distribute their knowledge to other youths. “We give them the freedom to think properly as the youth of the Philippines, in the future they will become leaders,” he said.
“How will you choose a youth now to be the leader of the future if his sense of nationalism and patriotism is distorted?” he asked. In fact, AFP has held different youth leadership summits in most all of the provinces and recently they organized for the Muslim youth.
Right now, they are building a framework where development and security fall under good governance.
Villanueva said, “We are engaging stakeholders from the lowest unit that is the barangay up to the national level that they should do their part in addressing dissatisfied socio-economic issues. We are looking at the different local chief executives (LCEs), to do their part and perform their specific mandates.”
He also stressed security is a shared responsibility. Hence, he urges everyone to be part of such endeavor. (JMOR/PIA10)
by Jasper Marie O. Rucat