MANILA — As the Philippines joins the rest of the world in observing the International Day of the Disappeared, a ranking official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) lambasted the communist group for the senseless purges they have committed against their own ranks in the 1980s and contributed heavily to the toll of the missing persons in the country.
“We commiserate with the family of missing persons, many of them gone as early as the purging years of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the 1980s,” said Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency Friday.
An estimated 7,000 New People’s Army (NPA) fighters and their supporters were reported tortured and killed by the CPP during their series of purges aimed at eliminating moles or undercover agents in the rebel ranks.
Parlade said families of these victims are still grieving from this atrocity perpetuated by the CPP-NPA against their loved ones.
“The parents, siblings, and friends of close to 7,000 cadres and NPAs which the CPP admitted to have tortured and killed during their Oplan Ahos, Oplan Zombie, Oplan Olympia, Oplan Kadena de Amor, and Oplan VD are still grieving from this injustice (www.philippinerevolution.info/2018/12/15/cpp-anniversary-statements-compilation),” he said.
Thousands of these purging victims, he added, remained unrecovered and still lying in hidden mass graves.
“Some are just statistics to us, like the 625 whom the CPP-front organizations like Karapatan, chose to include in the UN List of Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances,” he said.
He urged everyone to “remember that while we pray and pay our respect for these dead victims of the CPP’s brutal and barbaric acts, their deceit and expertise in propaganda enabled them to put the blame on the government.”
He added that while the government is still to close this chapter of violence and brutality committed by the communist rebels, the CPP-NPA is committing another atrocity with the recruitment of minors into their badly depleted ranks.
“While we have not closed this chapter of the CPPs violence, there is another disdainful chapter which is about to unfold. A group of mothers are currently crying foul for their missing children recruited by the CPP’s Anakbayan and Kabataan into the NPA. There are actually 8,635 of these kids recruited since September 2015 and if we don’t act fast, many of them may end up forever missing,” he said.
The government and the NTF ELCAC, he said, are taking the issue seriously as most of the recruits are only aged 13 to 16 years old, barely out of their pre-teen years, and very susceptible and vulnerable to rebel recruitment.
“This is how unfortunate the life of our youth have become, because of the deception of Anakbayan, Kabataan, Karapatan, Gabriela etc. Yet these are the same group who has the temerity and arrogance to represent the cause of human rights victims and the rights of children. The height of hypocrisy,” Parlade said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
By Priam Nepomuceno/ PNA