Former Speaker Alvarez: 'NPA apology not enough'

Published June 11, 2021, 8:12 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Friday said the admission of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the landmine explosion which killed Kieth and Nolven Absalon and injuring another relative should conclude in justice and prosecution.

Alvarez said a mere apology, without accountability, is unacceptable and the rebel group must surrender their personnel who planted the prohibited explosives.

“The problem of insurgency has once again resulted in the deaths of civilians and a promising Filipino football player who could have brought more honor to our country,” he said.

“Justice must be meted out and it is only by allowing the perpetrators to face the courts that would permit the family and the whole nation to begin the grieving process. Until then, the NPA should be considered as harborers of criminals,” the former House Speaker added.

Alvarez, who is at present the chairman of Partido Reporma, also pointed out that rebellion, which challenges our national resolve, has deeper roots particularly the concentration of wealth in the hands of a privileged few, brought about by a government structure that centralizes power in the National Capital Region. A strong nation requires strong localities and regions as foundation.

Alvarez said the government must address ineptness and create an inclusive economy where Filipinos can enjoy affordable education, decent livelihood, dignified homes, and effective healthcare services.

“This can only be achieved if local municipalities and provinces are empowered and the national government effectively devolves and decentralizes political power,” Alvarez he added.

“The words of a former National Security Adviser rings true today; while rebellions are fought in the rough jungles and terrains of the countryside, its seeds are planted in the asphalt roads of Metro Manila. Rebellion is our unfortunate reward for refusing reform,’’ he pointed out.

‘’We must look back at the merits of true federalism and how it can bring peace and progress to the countryside, particularly remote areas. The government must create gardens of opportunities where the people, especially the youth in the provinces, can nurture their dreams and ambitions. Otherwise, they will be tempted to tread that darkest tunnel to seek the glitter of light they call hope,’’ he stressed.

“It is the job of government officials to be reform-oriented leaders in order to find a long lasting solution to persistent problems, but it is also the duty of all stakeholders to participate in the principles and values of justice,” he added.