Local officials of El Nido have expressed hesitance to approve a resolution declaring New People’s Army as persona non grata, citing possible security risks they could face.
Silverio Bacsa, assistant municipal administrator of El Nido, said in his report this has been the reason the municipality has not followed the practice of most local government units in the province.
“One of the concerns kung bakit nahuli po ang El Nido ay dahil sa personal security concern ng ating local legislators. Natatakot sila sa pwedeng mangyari kung magde-declare sila,” he said.
“Isa pa po, ay sinasabi rin na dapat mauna magdeclare ang province (provincial board) na persona non grata. Pero ang sabi ko parang drug clearing kasi ito, paano magdedeclare ang whole province kung may isang munisipyo na ayaw? Dapat mauna lahat ng barangays then munisipyo bago ang province,” he added.
He also said that through Municipal TF-ELCAC local legislators will be enlightened.
“Hopefully through our MTF-ELCAC ay maliwanagan at makumbinsi ang ating mga local legislator,” he added.
PTF-ELCAC legal cluster head Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta downplayed the security concerns raised by local officials.
“Ang point ng PTF ELCAC ay baka pwede i-convey sa mga legislators sa El Nido na marami ng municipyo ang nagtaya na, ginawa nila kahit may security concern sila. Hindi naman siguro isi-single out ng NPA o hindi nila tayo kayang patayin because we declare them persona non grata,” he said.
He also clarified that provincial government is already leading the campaign against the rebel group by passing resolutions through the task force.
“Please convey also that as far as provincial government is concerned, the provincial government is leading kaya nga may PTF ELCAC led by governor. Please convey, we have already declared NPA persona non grata through PTF-ELCAC,” Matta said.
In addition, Commander of Western Command Vice Admiral Rene Medina said that the number of accomplishments such as surrenderees and recovery of firearms implied that creation of task force is effective to end conflict.
“If you have noticed mula noong itinatag ang task force ay more than 25 na ang sumuko, may mga nahuli na rin. Ganon ka-effective ang provincial task force,” Medina said.