MANILA The New People's Army (NPA) and its allies are not interested in ending landlessness, poverty and injustice as doing so will make them irrelevant.
"Do (Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Marie 'Joma') Sison and his ilk want landlessness, poverty and injustice to end? Not by a long shot. In fact the CPP-NPA does not want progress and would prefer our people to remain poor so that their raison d'etre (reason for existence) is ensured," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.
This is the reason why the NPAs and their supporters are deliberately preventing development in the countryside by extorting from businessmen, especially public works contractors, so they could continue to exploit these issues, he added.
"Those who would not fork over their 3 percent (income or earnings) would suffer from burned buildings / property and equipment, like what they did to 10 heavy construction equipment in Davao City last March 31; and even death, as what happened to Capt. Lynbert Laguda, Jr., the hapless commercial pilot who was doing a low-flying crop dusting job in Tagbina, Surigao recently," Lorenzana stressed.
Also, the DND chief scored the rebel groups for refusing to acknowledge that significant progress has already been made by the government to address landlessness, poverty and injustice.
"Did the government not address (and is still addressing) landlessness through its Agrarian Reform Program which allowed the distribution of thousands of hectares of land to landless Filipinos? Is the government not building infrastructure for farm to market roads and to encourage job generating industries all over the country? Did the government not establish programs to address the so-called injustice by the Courts, the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights and the Sandiganbayan? Besides, the advances in communications technology have made it very difficult for abuses, if any, by the government to go unnoticed and unreported," he added.
Source: Philippine News Agency