Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon commander Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. has accused the Makabayan bloc in Congress of maintaining links with the New People’s Army (NPA), citing alleged “subversive” documents found in the possession of rebels killed in recent encounters and similar evidence.
Parlade, in an interview with the government-run Philippine News Agency (PNA), cited several instances including the reported death in a recent encounter in Palaawan of a female NPA rebel that the military said was also a member of the militant group Gabriela.
“Members of these same organizations have been complaining of being red-tagged yet many of their members are dying in gunfights against government forces, like Ren (Rona Jane) Manalo alias ‘Pandan,’ a Gabriela ‘activist’ who was recently killed in an encounter in Palawan. (While) Alexandra Pacalda of Gabriela Youth and Karapatan, and Jhenelyn Malabanan of Karapatan were earlier captured,” he said.
In a deliberate broadside at the congressional partylist caucus Makabayan bloc, Parlade referred to the group as “Kamatayan bloc”.
“While the Kamatayan (Makabayan) Bloc members are desperately haggling to block the budget of the NTF-ELCAC, nine NPA members of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party (STRPC) returned to the fold of the law in several areas,” Parlade said.
The Makabayan bloc is a coalition of 12 political party lists with progressive left ideologies. Notable members are Bayan Muna, Kabataan, and Piston. Member-organizations and their representatives have cried afoul over alleged of red-tagging and so-called malicious labeling, especially lawmakers Sarah Elago and Carlos Isagani Zarate.
He bloc has sought to block the proposed P19.1-billion 2021 budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), accusing the body of perpetrating the so-called “red tagging” of their members.