By Jennifer P. Rendon
Getting the support of the New People’s Army (NPA) to advance your candidacy is akin to a kiss of death.
This, Major General Major Marion Sison, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division commander, said when asked about the perceived influence of the local terrorists in the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on October 30.
In a press conference on August 28, the first day of both the campaign period and the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC), Sison said that the so-called permit to campaign (PTC) and permit to win (PTW) are deemed non-existent.
“Wala ng permit to win ngayon dahil unang-una, ayaw na sa kanila ng community. Ayaw na sa kanila ng tao. Kilala na sila. Kaya wala na ang permit to win o permit to campaign. Hindi na totoo ‘yan,” he said.
At the start of the year, Sison said they received an instruction from the higher headquarters to finish the problem with their internal security operation (ISO) by the end of 2023.
“That’s why since January, we have been co-locating with the NPAs. That’s why, when we co-located with them, they have no choice but to be pushed away from the communities,” he said.
As an offshoot, “we have a hard time finding them. Kahit na ang mga kababayan natin sa mga communities, hindi na rin sila maamoy,” Sison said.
In the same manner, the rebels would also find it hard to collect or ask for PTC or PTW.
Presently, Sison said they have no recorded NPA-influenced barangay in Western Visayas.
But he said that NPAs are making efforts to recover their once-influenced barangays.
“Nahihirapan lang sila because they get no cooperation from the community,” he said.
The NPAs try to do “recovery efforts” in the hinterland villages of Miag-ao, Iloilo; Tapaz, Capiz; and Sibalom and Valderrama in Antique.
But Sison assured that these boundary barangays are being tightly guarded by military personnel.