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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Terrorism thwarts poverty alleviation efforts

By Henry S. Lagasca

San Fernando City, La Union (12 October) -- The latest bombing attacks perpetrated by the New Peoples Army (NPA) in Negros Occidental and other parts of Central Mindanao is a "direct assault on innocent people whose lives and limbs were lost and public and private establishments destroyed."

The destructive forays of the communist terrorists stemmed from the victim's refusal to pay exorbitant "revolutionary tax" or extortion money to the insurgents.

This kind of banditry being perpetrated by the terrorists goes against its deep indoctrination on ideology of protecting the interest of the Filipino masses.

Presidential spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said that Malacanang condemned. The attacks as "acts of terrorism" the series of raids conducted by the NPAs on public and private entities including on-going government infrastructure projects designed to alleviate poverty.

The lack of appropriate law to deal with terror groups clearly justify the people's strong and relentless lobbying for the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Bill for the safety and welfare of the people.

The NPA is trying hard to pin down the poverty level as their strategy for a continued source of recruits for the underground movement.

Preident Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stood pat on her firm resolve that despite the setback the government will not be deterred by the NPA's terroristic acts and will continue to be relentless in its campaign against terrorism.

Big business firms including airports, cell sites and transport companies have been victimized for their failure to come across with the NPAs in paying extortion money to the rebels.

President Arroyo has ordered police, military and local government units to hunt down the perpetrators of the Mindanao bombings. Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. said that there would be "no let up" in the hunt for Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members Dulmatin, reported to be a bomb expert and Umar Patek, the alleged masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombings.

The military said that government troops in Central Mindanao are now engaged with communist rebels in skirmishes and running gunbattles. Troops from the 61st Infantry battalion and two UH helicopters and two MG-520 assault choppers joined in the firefight with NPA rebels in Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

As fighting rages between military and NPA in Negros Occidental, Undesecretary Virgilio Leyretana, chair of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) said that the Mindanawans will be "one as ever in not allowing terrorists to cow peace loving citizens." (PIA 1) [top]

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