Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago has slammed what she described as Kabataan Party-List Rep. Sarah Jane Elago's attempts at "damage control” following the death of Keith Absalon in the hands of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Pialago, who serves as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on public affairs and youth concerns, even challenged the youth lawmaker to tell members of the NPA to "to lay down their arms and take the path of peace".
The NPA is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which the Philippine government considers as terrorists.
"In PR (public relations) it's just a smoke screen, damage control. Masabi lang na may ginagawa. Alam naman namin ang kanilang talagang intensiyon (They just want to appear that they're doing something. But we know what their true intentions are)," Pialago said in an interview over DZAR radio Thursday, June 10.
The NTF-ELCAC official was reacting to Elago’s calls for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and CPP following the death of 21-year-old football player Keith Absalon and his cousin, Nolven. The two were killed by an anti-personnel mine (APM) of the NPA in Masbate last Sunday.
The local communist movement owned up "with remorse" to the killings, which was subsequently condemned over on social media. Reports indicated that the Absalons were even shot at close range.
Pialago explained that the stalled peace talks, which CPP founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison himself wanted resumed by ordering the NPA to launch more vicious attacks, is "not definite and has no dynamics".
"Kung gusto talaga ng peace talk, surrender muna lahat ng maka-kaliwa, lahat ng nagpapakalat ng kadiliman. Kung gusto talaga nila ng kapayapaan (If they really want peace talks, then the whole leftist movement--those who spread wickedness--must surrender. That is, if they really want peace)," she said.
Pialago likewise claimed that it's "common knowledge" that Elago and her fellow members of the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives are “fronts” of the CPP.
"Ilan bata pa ang masasayang ang pangarap? (How many more youths will have their dreams wasted?)" she asked, obviously referring to Keith.
She vowed that the NTF-ELCAC will continue to educate Filipino youth in order to keep them away from the reach of communist terrorist groups.