By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be in full alert status after the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) ended its ceasefire declaration.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año criticized the rebel group’s action in the midst of the emergency crisis.
He added that “this act of the communist terrorist group is the final nail in its coffin and is a clear demonstration of their hypocrisy and being anti-peace while the country and the world are in the middle of the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic’’.
Año asserted that it is clear that the terrorist group only wants to sow terror and is unmindful of the welfare of the Filipinos.
Año said that while state forces should be a hundred percent focused “on its humanitarian efforts at this time, yet we now have to face the violence of these communist terrorists’’.
“As the nation and the world face an end to lockdown, communist terrorism should be among those that must be consigned to the pre-COVID-19 times,’’ Año said.
Año said the communist groups have contributed absolutely nothing to nation building.
“They are anti-peace and counterproductive to nation-building as they wreak havoc in both urban and rural areas,” he added
As the communist terrorist groups hardened their stance and ordered all units of the NPA “to immediately transition from an active defense posture to an offensive posture,” Año enjoined all local government units (LGUs) to be on guard as well and to ensure the welfare and protection of their constituents.
Año also characterized as a hoax the statement of the CPP-NPA-NDF that they are exerting efforts to facilitate the distribution of relief aid for the masses.
He said that the rebel groups “in fact are hampering the delivery of relief goods and were never true to their unilateral ceasefire as seen in the death of 26 government forces killed in action between March 15 and April 23 during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.”
Responding to the statement of the CPP-NPA-NDF, Año said, “It is not the lockdown that will slide down the country but you communist terrorists who remain to be a menace to local and national peace and order and thus impede progressive efforts of the government and civil society.”
Meanwhile as the country observed Labor Day, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said that the Department will take the lead in implementing Executive Order (EO) No. 110 to institutionalize the Comprehensive Social Benefits Program (CSBP).
The CSBP covers military and police forces who were killed or wounded in legitimate action or operation sanctioned by the state, and their qualified beneficiaries.
It also covers uniformed personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), as well as members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) or Active Auxiliary (CAA) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), who became casualties while in the performance of their respective duties in legitimate military or police operations, and their qualified beneficiaries.
“The issuance of EO 110 institutionalizing the CSBP is very timely as uniformed personnel are among our frontliners against Covid-19. Institutionalizing the CSBP, initiated by the President in 2017, would ensure the continuation of this program as a recognition of the sacrifices of our uniformed forces whether during human-induced or natural disasters and threats,” Malaya said.
The EO states that the CSBP is a mechanism to provide speedy, sustainable, and rationalized social benefits and assistance such as but not limited to special financial assistance, scholarship assistance, social welfare assistance, health and medical care assistance, shelter assistance, and employment assistance.
“The DILG, together with the Department of National Defense (DND), and all other implementing agencies will be further streamlining our rules and regulations so that access to various benefit or assistance of the CSBP will be quickly and efficiently given to beneficiaries,” Malaya said.
The DILG and DND are the lead implementing agencies for the CSBP as they coordinate and integrate the efforts of government agencies.