TAKE TWO: Iloilo City police to push for ‘unwelcome’ tag on rebels

By: Jennifer P. Rendon and Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE New People’s Army (NPA) is no way welcome in Iloilo City.

And if the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) would have its way, they will seek for the declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as persona non grata.

Police Colonel Martin Defensor, Jr., Iloilo City police chief, said he will again ask the city government, through Mayor Jerry Treñas, to pass a resolution to declare the NPA as an undesirable group.

“If other towns did it, we should also do it. It’s high time that we expressed our abhorrence against the NPA and their actions,” he said.

Defensor was referring to the group’s recruitment of minors and students, whom they allegedly trained and brainwashed to turn against the government.

“They were given a chance to participate in the country’s governance when Pres. (Rodrigo) Duterte assumed office but they did not do well,” he said citing the group’s failure to work with the government.

In previous interviews, Treñas said that he will support the request of the ICPO in declaring CPP-NPA as persona non grata.

The ICPO chief emphasized that while there are no activities directly linked to the rebel group here in the city, their financial transaction activities are in the city.

“Wala tayong activities dito but I believe dito sa part ng ICPO na dito sila gumagawa ng mga legal activities like financial transaction and may iba dito na may mga extortion report under sa umbrella sa CPP-NPA,” he said.

“Kung magkaisa tayong lahat, lahat ng cities, pinaabot natin sa kanila na they are not welcome, liliit yung mundo nila parang hindi sila tanggapin ng communities.”

This is not the first time that the ICPO pushed for the said declaration.

Last year, they also sent a letter to former mayor Jose Espinosa III and the SP but it was rejected by the council as there are no reports on the presence of rebels in the city.

“I don’t know which part of the law he is banking why he is asking for us to declare the CPP NPA. The Congress would not even declare it as terrorists. I don’t know the motive of Defensor why he’s asking for that,” former councilor Plaridel Nava said.

Earlier, the towns of Maasin and Janiuay in Iloilo declared the CPP-NPA as persona non grata.

Also, a village in Igbaras, Iloilo became the first barangay in the province to junk the CPP-NPA and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Barangay Barasan, through its Barangay Peace and Order Council, passed Resolution No. 1, Series of 2019 on Aug. 3, 2019 declaring CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata.

If someone becomes or is declared persona non grata, they become unwelcome or unacceptable because of something they have said or done.

It likewise condemned the “atrocities relentlessly committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF since it was established.”

On May 8, 2019, the town of Cuartero in Capiz also passed a resolution declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF as persona non grata.

Resolution No. 1 series of 2019 passed by the Municipal Peace and Order Council also condemned the rebel group for allegedly instigating atrocities in the area.

The resolution also pointed out that the presence of the terror group threatens the security and development of the municipality and its people.