NEWS FROM SUGARLANDIA
By Julius D. Mariveles
October 20, 2011
This is not a surrender, RPA officials say
Profiling of RPA guerrillas on towards “conclusion” of peace process
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental – The profiling of more than 300 fighters of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade has started in the province today in preparation for the eventual integration of the armed wing of the Rebolusyunaryong Partido ng Manggagawa–Pilipinas into the country’s military or its eventual disbandment.
“This is not a surrender,” RPA spokesperson Victorino Sumulong said during a joint news conference with Army and police officials Wednesday at the Camp Alfredo Montelibano, Sr.
Sumulong said armed revolution is no longer relevant in the country that already has a “façade of democracy (sic).”
RPA national commander Stephen Paduano, who uses the nom de guerre Carapali Lualhati, also attended the news conference along with 15 area commanders of the RPA.
Also present were Negros Occidental First District Board Member Nehemias Dela Cruz and his son, Marxlen, who is mayor of Don Salvador Benedicto town.
Armed members of the RPA in District 1 gathered today in San Carlos City while those in District 6 gathered in the village of Locotan in Kabankalan City and disclosed their personal data to members of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
The profiling will continue on October 24 and 27 for RPA guerrillas in District 2 and on October 28 to 21 for fighters in District 3 and 4.
This is part of the determination of the livelihood that may be availed of by members of the RPA under the peace agreement that was signed December 2000 during the administration of President Joseph Estrada.
“We have made it clear when we broke off from the CPP-(New People’s Army) that armed struggle is no longer the principal and primary form of struggle,” Paduano said during the news conference.
It was Sumulong who first faced the media and answered the questions but Paduano eventually interrupted him when a question was asked about the RPA’s assessment of the socio-economic reforms that have already been implemented by the government according to the peace agreement.
“Unlike the CPP-NPA, we are not into this for propaganda purposes only,” Paduano said as he took a swipe at the mainstream revolutionary movement which, he said, does not view the peace process “seriously” in attaining changes in the country.
While Paduano said they are not about to let “irritants” get in the way of the peace process, he did point out that the government has been spending millions of dollars to “talk to leaders of the CPP” in The Netherlands where Jose Maria Sison and former Negros priest Luis Jalandoni are based.
Sison is the founder of the CPP while Jalandoni is chief negotiator for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines that represents the CPP-NPA in talks with the Philippine government.
Police and Army officials expressed hopes that the final peace agreement with the splinter rebel group can be eventually signed, echoing hopes of OPPAP executive director Luisito Montalvo who had earlier said that a pact can be inked before the year ends or in early 2012.
Provincial police chief, Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan said he hopes fighting will stop in the countryside through the peace process.
Army Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander, said they have no choice but to be optimistic and persevering in pursuing peace.
TOMORROW: What is the peace agreement between the government and the RPM-P-RPA-ABB? What are the conditions laid down?
LATER: Comparing the talks between the GPH-RPM-P-RPA-ABB to that of the NDFP and the GPH.