Fr. SANTIAGO SALAS
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas said today that the People’s Democratic Government is confronting the Tan political dynasty in Western Samar for serious crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.
“The Tan political clan headed by Rep. Mila Tan in Western Samar is preparing to continue its hold on on the top elective positions in the province in the coming May elections,” said NDFP-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas.
“But the Tan family today is being held accountable by the people’s government for gross corruption, abetting human rights violations, and collaborating with the military’s “counterinsurgency” campaign. These serious crimes are grounds to deny entry to political candidates from the Tan family in areas under the jurisdiction of revolutionary authorities.”
Fr. Salas noted that Rep. Milagrosa Tan and her children, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan, have long been advancing their political and economic interests by going along with the fascist campaigns of the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Aside from the three incumbent officials who are running for reelection, Rep. Tan’s two other children are seeking the mayoralties in Calbayog and Catbalogan cities, while her brother-in-law is running for congressman in the first district.
“Human rights violations have raged in the province since 2005 under then 8th ID chief, the butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan. But the Tans never condemned but in fact helped cover up the military’s rights violations. They also slammed the door on rights violation victims seeking assistance, as well as refused to aid areas suffering from intense militarization.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also said that the Tan political dynasty not only collaborated but even colluded in corruption with the military. “Through their control of the provincial government, the Tans ensured financial and material support for the Social Integration Program, the 8th ID’s surrender campaign against the New People’s Army. The Tans also lent support to the 8th ID’s brutal Special Operations Team campaigns of psywar and intimidation against the people.
“They also allowed the military to be the contractor in projects used for “counterinsurgency”, as well as supported relief and medical missions meant to deodorize the military’s human rights violations.”
Aside from conniving with the military, Fr. Salas also accused the Tans of maintaining its own private army composed not only of goons but mercenary soldiers and policemen as well. “The Tans are known to have soldiers from the 34th and 87th Infantry Battalions in their payroll. They are also connected to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through Sgt. Emil Soza. The Tans meanwhile effectively control the police provincial mobile group of the Philippine Nationalo Police through their man, Insp. Jovy Espinido.
“The other armed henchmen of the Tans are the Casaljay group based in Sta. Margarita and Calbayog City; the so-called Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB, Revolutionary People’s Army) in Paranas and Hinabangan towns; and goons from Masbate who hide out in the islands of Tagapul-an, Almagro and Daram.”
Fr. Salas said the Tan political dynasty is notoriously corrupt and has used its political power to entrench and further its economic interests at the expense of the people.
“The Tans represent the ugliness of bureaucrat capitalism where government is run to serve not the people but local and foreign big business interests. The Tans have various business interests that are flourishing while they are in political office: moneylending, commercial stores, real estate and shipping. The Tan political dynasty, especially its matriarch Rep. Milagrosa Tan, also has a long history of plundering state coffers for ghost projects. Because of their intertwined political and business interests, the Tans have also outraged the people with their nepotism and political patronage, exemplified by Rep. Tan and her four children running for key local positions as if it is just business as usual.
“While the Tans benefit from their political and economic power, the government employees and common people suffer grinding poverty, militarization, and deprival of basic social services. If the Tans will have their way, they will certainly further their oppression and exploitation of the people.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson said the People’s Democratic Government is confronting the Tan political dynasty in Western Samar to safeguard the rights and interests of the people in the coming reactionary elections, and to ensure these will be peaceful, orderly and beneficial.
“The Tans are enemies of the people in Western Samar. They face restriction of electoral access in the territories under the People’s Democratic Government. The Arnulfo Ortiz Command of the New People’s Army – Western Samar also have orders to enforce the prohibition of armed goons and military, police and paramilitary escorts during the election period, and to watch out for the Tans who are notorious for these.
“The Tan political dynasty is also warned that using violence against its rivals, as well as vote-buying and bribery, will not be tolerated in the revolutionary territories. It is furthermore the responsibility of the NPA and the revolutionary forces to discuss and unite with the people regarding the accountabilities of the Tan political dynasty, so as to expose the farce of reactionary elections and to clarify that only the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system will pave the way for a genuine democratic government.”