DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Saturday shot back at the communist rebels and said they were the real “peace spoilers,” the people responsible for the non-development of the rural areas as a result of their armed struggle.
“The leaders and members of the CPP/NPA [Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples Army] are the real and original peace spoilers,” Lorenzana said in a statement in reply to Fidel Agcaoili, spokesman of the communist National Democratic Front.
He made his statement after Agcaoili called him a “peace spoiler” but replied that the communists were continuing to justify their extortion that they euphemistically called revolutionary taxation.
“THE CPP-NPA-NDF is once again playing its old game of accusing the government of the very crimes that its members themselves are committing,” Lorenzana said.
He said the communists’ armed struggle to replace the democratic form of government with communism had consistently blocked the state’s efforts to develop the countryside.
“Gising na ang buong bayan sa katotohanan na naghihirap ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa kasakiman at kagustuhang maghari-harian ng CPP-NPA sa mga kanayunan,” Lorenzana said.
He questioned Agcaoili’s claim that the “revolutionary tax” being collected by the communists were being spent on the poor.
“Saan napupunta ang salaping sapilitan nilang kinukuha sa taong bayan? Ano ang maipapakita nilang katunayan na nakinabang ang bayan lalo na ang ating mga mahirap sa pangingikil nila? Ang maliwanag, ang kanilang ‘revolutionary tax’ na sapilitang kinukuha sa mga tao ay ginagamit nila upang tustusan ang marangyang pamumuhay ng iilan,” Lorenzana said.
He said only the government of the Philippines had the authority to collect taxes under the Constitution.
“All others who do it, especially those using the threat of violence, as what the NPA does, are plain and simple extortionists,” Lorenzana said.
He slammed Agcaoili for claiming that the Department of National Defense’s budget was being corrupted by top military officials.
“The DND budget is under strict scrutiny by the CoA and Congress,” Lorenzana said.
“How could it line the pockets of top officials as their propaganda claims when it is barely enough for salaries, pensions, health care and maintenance and operations of the Department including its five bureaus?”
“Agcaoili and the rest of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s noisemakers are laying the blame on the government for the failure of the peace talks because the extent of their extortion and its adverse effects on businesses, our people’s lives, and development especially in the countryside have now become very obvious to everyone,” Lorenzana said.
He said the communists stepped up their rhetoric after the “peace talks” were finally terminated by the President.
“I am not the peace spoiler that they accuse me of. Rather, I am a defender of the Filipino people,” Lorenzana said.
“Tungkulin ko pong ipagtanggol ang sambayanan sa mga katulad ng CPP/NPA na gustong magpairal ng sistemang maka-komunista.
“That is why I am against any ‘peace process’ that clearly is stacked against the government and favorable only to the CPP-NPA-NDF.”
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