The Palawan Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict assured that it is doing the best it can to halt the recruitment of the New People’s Army, especially among residents from far-flung areas in Palawan.
Atty. Vincent Escala of the Provincial Legal Office denied the probability of inadequate provision of government services to far-flung areas, which some quarters say is the major reason why people join the rebels.
“Kami po sa provincial government, we have projects and development programs intended to defeat poverty in rural areas, and also to use this as a tool to counter these insurgency problems,” Escala said.
He added that the provincial government is not doing nothing to halt indoctrination programs by the CPP-NPA. “We, the provincial government don’t agree that we are doing nothing for these people to freely conduct their indoctrinization [sic].”
Brigadier General Charleton Sean Gaerlan of the 3rd Marine Brigade further reinforced the provincial government’s stance on the matter, saying that the rebels are fooling the populace for their recruitment programs.
“Actually, panlilinlang ‘yun. Nabanggit namin dati na ‘yung mga issues na supposed to be na nilalabas nila ay panlilinlang lang. Kunwari may ginawang road sa isang liblib na barangay, ang sasabihin ng mga NPA, ‘wala tayong mga kotse, ang nakakagamit lang ‘yung mayayaman, yung businessman, lalo kayong mawawalan ng lupa’, mga ganun. Actually, panlilinlang lang ‘yun, katulad ng sinabi ni Atty., hindi ibig sabihin walang ginagawa ang gobyerno, nababaligtad lang nila, kasi maraming malalayong lugar, at saka marami din talaga tayong mahihirap, ‘yun ‘yung tine-take advantage nila, kasi madali silang mabilog,” Gaerlan explained.
In another statement, Atty. Escala also addressed issues concerning propaganda programs of the CPP in the countryside.
“We coordinate, and we work hand-in-hand with Western Command and our provincial police. ‘Yung provincial police at saka Western Command, they also have their programs and tactics to counter these kind of indoctrination and insurgency. In my knowledge, they also conduct immersion. Our marines, our soldiers, they go to the countryside para naman ipaabot ang mensahe ng gobyerno at saka pabulaanan itong kasinungalingan na pinakakalat ng Communist Party of the Philippines because that’s how they recruit. They lie, they spread propaganda against the government. Sisiraan ang gobyerno, and they will exploit the poverty in our rural areas. On the part of the government, the provincial government, the provincial police and the Western Command, we work hand-in-hand. We conduct workshops also every now and then how to counter these activities of the NPA…and I believe, it has positive results, and it has been very effective,” he added.