By MARTIN MONTANA
Chadli Molintas Command
NPA Ilocos-Cordillera Region
Philippine Daily Inquirer
This has reference to a letter written by Maj. Eugenio Julio C Osias IV ("The irony that is the CPP-NPA;" PDI; 13Jan 2010) deceitfuly accusing the CPP-NPA of involvement in the illegal drug trade. To prop up his empty accusation, Maj. Osias slyly mentioned the alleged discovery of multi-million marijuana plantations in the Ilocos-Cordillera region. In the interest of fairness and truth, allow us to submit the following.
First, the CPP-NPA maintain a strict policy against the use, cultivation and trafficking of marijuana, and an equally strict stance against the manufacturing and sale of other illegal drugs. The CPP-NPA has never nor will it ever tolerate the illegal drugs trade.
Second, some poor peasants in the Ilocos-Cordillera region are forced to plant and sell marijuana as a quick fix for burgeoning poverty and the dearth of social services. All NPA units and Party branches in the region discourage this anti-social activity. For several decades now, we have launched economic programs for alternative and sustainable livelihood, and have conducted political programs of propaganda and education to dissuade peasants from planting marijuana.
On the other hand, unscrupulous officers of the PNP and the AFP themselves encourage, provide materials and protect marijuana farmers in the Ilocos-Cordillera region. It is an open secret, especially among peasants in hinterland barangays, that marijuana seeds are provided by military and police personnel, and that known marijuana buyers in the region are able to conduct business because of their military or police protectors. It has become a laughing matter for astute residents of the region that marijuana raids by the police and military are often conducted when the marijuana plants are ready for market, and not when these are still seedlings that can be easily uprooted and eradicated. The raids aren't actually for the confiscation and destruction of marijuana, these are for the harvest and quick transport of the marijuana aboard military helicopters. One of the larger marijuana-growing areas in the region can be found in Mt. Chumanchill in Tinglayan, Kalinga. The area is maintained by the Cordillera People's Liberation Army, an auxilliary of the AFP.
Crooked PNP and AFP officers gain from the marijuana trade in several ways. They earn promotions and incentives through their sham raids, they rake in profits from sales, and they receive protection money from marijuana dealers.
Maj. Osias can dissemble and blend fact and fiction into what he thinks is a story that would be acceptable to the public. But he really isn't getting anywhere with his concoctions. The great danger is not the revolutionary movement. The great danger is the fact that Philippine politics is dominated by warlord-politicos funded by logging and mining firms that devastate the environment, and by gambling and drug lords who wreak havoc on our youth's future. Using the NPA as a convenient whipping boy for the crimes committed by warlord-politicos with AFP and PNP complicity is a worn out tactic that no longer works. For were not the arms, ammunition and war materiel found in the possession of the perpetrators of the horrible Maguindanao massacre clearly from the AFP and PNP?
In solidarity in the common quest for truth,