LGU execs aiding NPA face sanctions
by EA Delegado
Masbate City (30 June) -- A new Executive Order by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo authorizes peace and order councils (POCs) to recommend sanctions on top officials of local government units providing material and political support to communist rebels.
The implementation of EO 739, which reorganized the POCs, was being pushed by government forces at the forefront of counter-insurgency drive. The need to apply the directive became apparent after the military and police noted that the campaign against the communist insurgency required the cooperation of various sectors.
It seems, however, that EO 739 was not enough to rouse POCs in Masbate that have been inoperative. Most POCs have yet to convene themselves in order to carry out the reorganization.
With EO 739, the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) as well as the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) and Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) will be a bit leaner than their predecessor.
Besides three representatives of the private sector and one from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, those who will sit in the new PPOC are the provincial counterparts of heads of national departments, offices and agencies that have offices in Masbate.
They are the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The CPOC and MPOC are composed of the counterparts of these offices in the city and municipalities.
As in the old PPOC, the governor and vice governor will sit in the PPOC as chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively, while mayors and vice mayors will be the presiding officers and vice presiding officers of the CPOC or MPOCs.
The Arroyo administration, which aims to obliterate the communist insurgency by the end of the term of Ms. Arroyo in 2010, is optimistic that EO 739 will serve its purpose in the run-up to the 2010 elections when the New People's Army (NPA) asks candidates for money or firearms in exchange for permits to campaign in areas where the underground movement operates.
Under EO 739, the POCs would need to develop a process of investigation and cull evidence before imposing sanctions on officials suspected to be helping NPA.
The 6,000-member NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and has been waging a Maoist insurgency since 1968.
It is in Washington's list of international terror groups. (PIA Masbate) [top]