Vice gov, lawmaker blocked from attending CPP rites
Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) - December 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MARIHATAG, Surigao del Sur, Philippines – Government troops prevented a convoy of local officials and representatives of various sectors from attending a gathering of rebels celebrating the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a remote village here.

Troops from the Army’s 2nd Scout Ranger Company of the 401st Infantry Battalion prevented the convoy Vice Gov. Manuel Alameda and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, along with representatives from various sectors, from proceeding to Barangay San Isidro where the gathering of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels was held.

The military blockade caused a traffic jam in Sitio Mabong, stranding thousands of commuters.

There was an exchange of heated argument as the soldiers maintained they are under orders.

Alameda called up Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel to clarify why they were not allowed to pass through. Alameda told the troops that he was sent by the governor to represent the province in the peace consultation with the rebels.

He introduced himself as the vice chairman of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, of which the military and the Philippine National Police is part.

The troops, however, insisted they were just following orders from their superiors not to allow anyone go to the site.

A soldier who introduced himself as Sgt. Alvarez said there are reports that landmines were planted along the road going into the site and clearing operations by the military were underway and would take hours for the road to be cleared of landmines.

Zarate, on the other hand, argued they have been invited by the rebels to attend the gathering.

Alameda, for his part, said they would take the risk and proceed to the area.

The soldiers were eventually prevailed upon to allow the convoy to proceed.

At the site, the delegation witnessed cultural presentations by NPA rebels before the peace consultations started.

Alameda said the provincial government will summon the soldiers and the military officials to find out why they were not allowed to go to the gathering.

“I and Governor Pimentel already agreed during our phone conversation just recently that we will summon the soldiers and military leaders to ask them to explain why they were blocking us. This will also be one of our major area of discussion once we hold our Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting. We really are disappointed... It seemed they are blocking our initiatives and efforts to discuss peace in our area,” Alameda said.

Zarate, for his part, said he would call for a congressional inquiry into the military’s violation of their own declaration of Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO).

“We will summon them, it seems they do not want peace and wanted the world’s longest insurgency to continue,” he said.

The troops, on the other hand, could only watch from a distance during the occasion.

They are under orders to protect the delegates and observe the 30-day Yuletide truce with the rebels.

“The chief of staff, in a gesture of sincerity and our adherence to the SOMO, has requested Eastern Mindanao Command to facilitate attendance of the communist leaders and members during their plenum,” AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.

Eastmincom commander Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad said troops only monitored the gathering but could not say if a plenum was held during the event.

“We have no reports of a plenum that was held. What was reported held was the CPP anniversary,” Baladad said in a text message.

The communists extended an invitation for the government to attend the celebration of the CPP’s 46th founding anniversary on Friday in Surigao del Sur.–  With Jaime Laude

AURELIO BALADAD BARANGAY SAN ISIDRO CARLOS ZARATE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES EASTERN MINDANAO COMMAND I AND GOVERNOR PIMENTEL INFANTRY BATTALION JOHNNY PIMENTEL MANUEL ALAMEDA AND BAYAN MUNA REP PROVINCIAL PEACE AND ORDER COUNCIL
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with