Gov’t employees unions urged to disaffiliate from labor group linked to Communist rebels

Published August 10, 2022, 8:57 PM

by Franck Dick Rosete

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Northern Mindanao (NICA-10) urged employees associations from various government agencies to secede from the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage).

NICA-10 director Manuel Orduña, during the media forum Wednesday, August 10, urges government employees associations to disaffiliate from COURAGE. The media forum is about the disaffiliation of the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association (DAREA) from the said labor group. High-ranking officials from Police Regional Office 10 (PRO-10) and 4th Infantry Division (4ID), Philippine Army are also present during the forum. (Photo: Screengrab from 4ID’s facebook live).

NICA-10 director Manuel Orduña said during a media forum on Wednesday, August 10, that the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Association (DAREA) had already disaffiliated too from the said labor group, which, according to former NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, is a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Monteagudo’s pronouncement was backed by the National Task Force on End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

COURAGE was established in 1986 and one of their aims is to protect and promote the economic and democratic rights of all government workers.

During the media forum, in NICA-10’s presentation, they showed the various government agencies and institutions that have been infiltrated by Courage. The said group has 150,000 members who are government employees.

“Yung mga nabanggit na (Those mentioned [government] agencies, affiliated pa rin sila nung (they are still affiliated in the) union. Ang ina-ano natin na kung pepwede (What we’re trying now if it’s possible), mag disaffiliate na sila doon sa (to disaffiliate from) Courage,” Orduña said.

He also stressed that the involvement of the government employees associations to the groups linked to communist rebels did not affect the implementation of Executive Order (EO) No.70.

“Noong araw, walang nagsasabi ng ganito (Before, no one would do this [educating about the fronts linked to CPP-NPA-NDF)]. But with the implementation of executive order no. 70, lumilitaw na ngayon (they [rebel fronts) have been known),” Orduña said.

“Gusto din naming ilinaw, na karamihan sa mga miyembro ng (We would like also to clarify that majority of the members of) DAREA hindi nila alam kung ano yung (they don’t have knowledge about the) Courage,” he added.

EO 70, signed in December 2018, aims to ‘provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.’

The disaffiliation of DAREA from Courage had been effective through a resolution by its national executive and legislative officers resolved on March 10 this year as a sign of support to the administration of former President Duterte.

In 2021, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Social Welfare Association of the Philippines (SWEAP) also disaffiliated from Courage.

This was followed by the disaffiliation of National Food Authority Employees’ Association (NFA-EA) from said labor group in the same year.

Labeling Courage as front of the CPP-NPA-NDF has been echoed by alias ‘Inday,’ who was a former rebel who previously operated in this city, under the Rural Missionary of the Philippines.

“Ang ilang tahas sa (the task of) Courage ang mag-focus nga organisahon ang mga trabahante sa gobyerno (they are focusing on organizing the workers of the government),” alias Inday said.

“Mao na ang akong usa nga ikapamatuod sa inyong atubangan (That’s the one thing I can prove in front of you), with the presentation gikan sa (from) NICA, katong tanan nga inyong nakita nga (those you have seen) legal front organizations ng (of) CPP-NPA, tinuod kadto (are true),” she added.

Last year, in a report from GMA news, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), in an internal memorandum, labeled Courage and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) as fronts from rebel groups.

After that, Courage strongly condemned the internal memorandum, which it said was an attempt to red-tag their organization.

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

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as ‘an integral and inseparable part’ of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.