The city government is not keen on passing its own resolution denouncing the New People’s Army (NPA) as persona non grata.
City Councilor Elgin Damasco underscored such a position on Monday, stating that it is no longer necessary to follow what several other local government units (LGUs) have done.
He noted that during the recent Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) meeting, the council said that all government units within the region should pass a resolution declaring NPA as persona non grata.
However, Damasco said that the city government of Puerto Princesa City has already passed a resolution supporting the national campaign to end the rebellion in the country.
He said that there is no need to pass other resolutions declaring them as persona non grata.
“Doon sa meeting ay talagang iginigiit na tayong mga local government units ay kailangan na magdeklara sa pamamagitan ng isang resolusyon na persona non grata ang mga rebeldeng NPA. Iginigiit din natin na sapat na ang ating ipinasang resolusyon supporting the government’s campaign against the insurgency and terrorism,” he said.
Damasco added that the RPOC cannot direct the city to form a particular legislative measure based on the local government code.
He also said that there is no incident in Puerto Princesa City involving the NPA.
“Sa pagkakaintindi ko ay kahit mandatory pa ang naturang resolusyon ay wala naman sigurong karapatan base sa ating local government code na tayo ay manduhan ng RPOC na gumawa ng isang resolusyon ayon sa tenor na gusto nila. Bagamat dito sa Puerto Princesa ay walang kaso ng rebellion kahit may mga nahuli nakaraan pero wala naming kaguluhan na ginawa dito sa atin,” he said.
He explained that instead of passing various resolutions, the government should focus on how to solve poverty in far-flung areas that are vulnerable to NPA recruitment.
“Kahit ilang deklarasyon pa ng persona non grata laban sa mga rebelde ay naniniwala pa rin tayo na hindi pa rin mareresolba ang rebelyon hangga’t hindi natin nagagamot ang problema sa kahirapan lalo na sa kanayonan, hangga’t hindi natin naipapadama na may gobyerno na handang maglingkod, hindi pa rin po ito mareresolba,” Damasco said.
He also cited the Ugnayan sa Barangay being conducted by the city government as a tool to address the insurgency problem.
“Ibinida natin kung paano natin maresolba ang kahirapan, ang ugnayan sa barangay which we are bring the government closer to the people, dinadala natin sa mga malalayong barangay, nayon at sa mga lugar na prone sa recruitment ng mga rebelde ay naipapadama natin na mayroong gobyerno,” Damasco said.
City Councilor Jimmy Carbonel, meanwhile, expressed his support to the decision not to pass another resolution declaring NPA as persona non grata.
“Pertaining to the outcome of the meeting (RPOC meeting), this August body already approved a resolution strongly supporting the national government to end rebellion, so, we stand with that resolution without the necessity of declaring persona non grata against the member of NPA because I believe that is not only by declaring persona non grata but on how we bring the government closer to the people,” Carbonel said.