Nograles unfazed by NPA threats

March 16, 2010 10:34 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, March 16 – Speaker Prospero Nograles on Tuesday vowed not to be terrorized by the New People's Army (NPAs) which, according to ANAD partylist Rep. Pastor Alcover and BANTAY partylist Rep. Jovito Palparan, are being given refuge and even financial and logistical support by a local official in order to maintain political control over Davao City's rural communities.

"I will not be terrorized. I will fight using my solid platform of government and my commitment to reform Davao City. This is my only weapon to defeat these terrorists and extortionists," said Nograles, who is running for the mayoralty post in Davao City.

At the same time, the Speaker reiterated his call to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deploy more troops in places known as operating areas of the NPA's "Pulang Bagani" Command led by Leocio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago.

"The Comelec through the AFP should assert its presence in these areas to ensure clean, honest and peaceful elections in Davao City. The Comelec should not allow the NPAs to terrorize these communities and force them to submit only to their will," he said.

Nograles blamed incumbent Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for the heavy insurgency activities in the city's rural areas as he cited reports that his (Duterte) political party "Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod" is allegedly "in alliance with the NPA to ensure that they can freely move around in these NPA-infested communities."

The Speaker lamented that instead of using government funds to bring progress in these rural areas in order to defeat the root cause of insurgency which is poverty, "Duterte's administration continued to deny them government support so that the NPAs can continue to thrive in their communities."

He said there are even reports that Duterte allegedly "has been using government funds to provide arms, logistics and even allowances for Parago and his men," even as he noted that the mayor has P800 million annual discretionary funds for peace and order.

There are also reports that the notorious Davao Death Squad (DDS) which has been responsible for the death of poor and petty criminals and even members of the media, are members of Parago's Pulang Bagani Command.

"It is truly unfortunate that some government officials will go to the extent of providing enemies of the state the means and capability to attack our own soldiers and our own citizens just to stay in power. You cannot run a city with terror," said Nograles.

Last Friday, an Army soldier was killed and three others were wounded in a roadside bomb that was set off by NPA rebels in Barangay Paquibato, Davao City. The soldiers were dispatched shortly after NPA rebels waylaid and robbed two of Nograles' campaign supporters. (PNA)

LAP/LGI

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