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Communist rebels and their supporters are using “red-tagging” of their front organizations as a smokescreen to the House of Representatives from conducting a probe into the Salugpungan schools being operated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), a military official said Wednesday.

“This is just one of the reasons you want the SC to stop the government from ‘red-tagging’ you. This is just one of the many reasons you want to postpone the Congressional inquiry on Salugpungan schools in Davao. You don’t want the truth out in the open,” Major Gen. Antonio Parlade of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said in a message to reporters.

Parlade’s statement came after tribal leaders in Sitio Kahusayan, Calinan, Davao City met with government representatives and requested for the closure of Salugpungan learning centers in the area and requested the Department of Education (DepEd) to cater to the educational needs of the tribal communities.

Tribal leader Datu George Mandahay expressed concern for the children in Salugpungan schools after realizing that the school is being used as a training ground for future NPA rebels.

The Congressional Committee on Indigenous Peoples (IPs) concerns validated the complaints lodged by the Mindanao Tribal Council before the House of Representatives in December 2018.

Parlade said the government team composed of some members of House of Representatives, Office of the Presidential Consultant for Indigenous Peoples (IP) Concerns, DepEd, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Presidential Communications Operations Office-attached agencies learned about this shortly after the meeting.

“This morning (April 17) they will visit the Salugpungan schools in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte to conduct the inquiry, especially in the light of the children trafficking case of IP children by Bayan Muna’s Satur Ocampo, ACT’s France Castro and Gabriela in December 2018,” Parlade said.

He also scored the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers for taking time to defend the CPP-NPA.

Contrary to claims of the NUPL, Parlade said none of their officers and members were harassed by the government.

“So lawyers for marginalized NPAs and poor CPP cadres, do what you have to do to defend the rights of people destroying our country. None of you were harassed or threatened by your true protectors, the government, so there is no real need for that Amparo, except for you to collect more donations from Europe and other gullible donors,” he added.

The NUPL, on April 15, filed a petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data before the Supreme Court to ask for the protection from “harassment, intimidation, and violence committed against them by State forces and their agents.”

Their petition came after Parlade, one of the respondents in the petition, accused NUPL as having links with the CPP.

The petitioners are led by NUPL chairman and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares and NUPL president lawyer Edre Olalia.

A writ of amparo can be filed when any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.

On the other hand, a writ of habeas data protects a person’s right to control information especially when the information against the person was illegally obtained.

“Your government will continue what it does to protect the majority of the Filipinos who deserve this peace, 50 years after the CPP-NPA and your legally fronted Kamatayan Bloc have clearly deceived them,” Parlade said.

“This Holy Week take time to reflect if you trully deserve that God-less communist ideology of yours. We will continue to pray for your enlightenment,” he added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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