Two governors of Davao Region have called on the public to be “cautious and vigilant” in dealing with non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations (CSO) coming into their communities.
Both Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy of Davao de Oro and Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental revealed that communist New People’s Army (NPA) is trying to rebuild and recover its mass base in the province using its legal fronts.
Uy, a former chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), said the NPA’s effort was apparently in response after the government managed to “clear” NPA-influenced barangays throughout the Davao Region.
Recently, three municipalities in Davao de Oro have declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as persona non-grata. Hundreds of villages in the region have also declared the communist rebels unwelcome.
“I am asking the local government leaders to be wary of NGOs and CSOs disguising as service-oriented groups. They will give services especially in the far-flung communities but the main agenda is to persuade and entice them to be part of the rebel group,” Uy said.
However, Uy clarified that he is not against NGOs that “are really into public service. I’m not saying that we don’t want their help.”
“Everybody is welcome to offer their services to our provinces as long as they are really for the betterment of the communities,” he said.
The governor advised NGOs and other civic-oriented groups who want to conduct activities in certain villages to seek permission from local leaders, local peace councils, and law enforcement authorities.
“Let us not be complacent. We do this to secure our constituents as well as our efforts on development,” he added.
Dayanghirang, the current RPOC chair, directed barangay officials to accompany NGOs, especially those identified with left-leaning groups, that want to enter their areas.
Out of the 183 barangays in Davao Oriental, only 14 areas still have presence of communist groups.
He said military and police have been deployed in those 14 affected barangays.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (with PNA reports)