Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Villagers rally to revive ‘Alsa Masa’

DIGOS CITY – Officials and residents of Barangay Goma here have started mobilizing in a bid to rally support for the revival of an anticommunist group that helped weaken the New People’s Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao in the 1980s.

During a meeting on Thursday, which was presided over by Barangay Captain Nicolas Bibal, the residents said they decided to fight back after experiencing various types of abuses in the hands of the rebels.

During the meeting – also attended by the village’s 28 purok presidents – the residents expressed fear due to the continued presence of rebels near the village.

They eventually agreed that fear would bring them nowhere and that fighting back was the reasonable thing to do.

“Many of them wanted to flee already especially since the military could not protect them. This was also the reason they later decided to rise against the rebels,” Raul Paran, a villager who has been allegedly receiving threats from the rebels, told reporters after the meeting.

Another resident of the village, who requested anonymity, said he had pledged funds to help reorganize either the Alsa Masa or the Nagkahiusang Katawhan Alang sa Kalinaw (Nakasaka) in Barangay Goma.

“I’m simply overjoyed by the development. The most important thing for me now is that this campaign to fight back the NPA has taken place. I hope this will be for real now,” the resident said.

Lt. Brian Lorejo, commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion’s Charlie company, said the initiative of the residents would certainly help in the government’s anticommunist drive.

“We will support their efforts at all times,” Lorejo said.

It was not clear yet whether or not the residents would take up arms themselves.

Officials said another meeting would be held on the matter.

One of the founders of Nakasaka and Alsa Masa said he was not worried if the residents eventually armed themselves.

Armed members of Alsa Masa and Nakasaka were among those blamed for the spate of summary executions in Davao City and in Davao del Sur starting in 1986.

The activities of Alsa Masa in Davao City transformed Agdao district into Nicaragdao. A village in the district was even named Barrio Patay as bodies started turning up almost on a daily basis.

Hagonoy, Davao del Sur Mayor Franco Calida, who was one of the prime movers of the two anticommunist groups in the 1980s, said at that time, the two groups had clear instructions not to violate human rights.(By Eldie Aguirre)

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