BAGUIO CITY (PIA)-- The Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict – Cordillera (RTF – ELCAC – CAR) reminds candidates running for local posts in the 2022 elections against the possible solicitation of communist – terrorist groups (CTGs).
Department of the Interior and Local Government OIC Regional Director Araceli San Jose, in a Kapihan media forum here last Nov. 12, shared that as early as October 19, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año signed Memorandum Circular 2021 – 119 warning on the payment of permit-to-campaign and permit-to-win fees to CTG groups, its allied organizations or any other similar groups.
San Jose urged candidates not to give funds or any other material to the CTGs as the region is already succeeding in the campaign against insurgency with more members of the CPP-NPA-NDF surrendering and availing of assistance packages under the comprehensive local integration program of the government.
For 2020 amid the COVID – 19 pandemic, 28 former rebels in Cordillera have received livelihood and financial assistance, and for this year, 35 more former rebels have benefitted from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), San Jose said.
She also affirmed that all provincial, municipal and city LGUs in CAR have approved resolutions declaring the CTGs as persona non grata in their respective communities.
“Sana sa kampanyang ito, hindi natin sila susuportahan, itong mga CTGs. Sigurado po na tuloy-tuloy na magtatagumpay ang ating gobyerno at makakamit na po natin ang long lasting peace at sustainable development,” San Jose stressed.
Armed Forces of the Philippines, Joint Task Force TALA and 5th Infantry Division Commander Brigadier General Laurence Mina, in a statement read by 503rd IB Commander Col. Santiago Enginco, assured that they will remain apolitical and will work in attaining, honest, orderly and peaceful election especially on CTG – affected barangays. He reiterated the warning against the extortion modus operandi of the CTGs.
“We are calling on political candidates who are running for national and local posts not to be deceived by the permit to campaign or permit to win as an extortion modus of the CTGs this coming election. We urge them to report immediately to the AFP or PNP units in their area if there are threats from CTGs for our appropriate action”, Mina said.
On the part of the PNP, Cordillera Regional Community Affairs and Development Division Chief PCOL Maly Castillo Cula assured that they are ready to step up their peace and order operations for the upcoming election and will be working hand in hand with AFP to ensure that the CTGs will not get a hand in the exercise of suffrage.
The Kapihan media forum was spearheaded by the Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management Cluster headed by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency – Cordillera Regional Director Alden Juan Masagca to provide updates from RTF – ELCAC and provide information and clarifications on related issues and concerns. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)