“I have never issued statements linking one of the shooting victims to the New People’s Army,” 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig Gen Ignacio Madriaga, said, referring to lawyer Anthony Trinidad, who was killed by unknown assailants while on his way home from a court hearing in La Libertad, Negros Oriental on July 23.
Madriaga said it would be unfair for the Army to be accused of red-tagging or to refer to Trinidad as lawyer for the Reds.
He also said that it was Communist Party of the Philippines -New People's Army-National Democratic Front founder, Jose Ma. Sison, who tagged several organizations as their associates, like Bayan and the League of Filipino Students, among others, during interviews while in exile abroad.
Earlier, churches of different denominations, civil society organizations, including agencies in government have expressed fears for their lives when they go to the mountains due to misbranding.
They explained that due to the nature of their job and work, they have to visit hinterland barangays as part of their ministry.
Madriaga said that if these organizations want to help, they have all the time to coordinate with the local government unit or the Army, especially in areas where there is conflict between the rebels and government troops.
Madriaga made it clear, the Army is not branding them as leftists, but when they go to these communities, their actions say a lot, they give a few kilos of rice and speak against the Army or the government, he added.
He said he believes that agrarian reform is the energy that drives the insurgency problem in the island and once resolved permanently, there will be no reason for the NPA’s existence.*
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