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BOKOD, Benguet – The Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is being jointly requested by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) to intervene in the alleged conflict between some former and current officers and members of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA).
The decision of the RDC-CAR and RPOC-Car chaired by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan was reached after Abra Vice governor and unified CPLA chairman raised that there are still over 7,000 CPLA combatants who have not yet been profiled by the concerned government agencies and what had been closed by the Cordillera Forum on Peace and Development (CFPD) during the previous administration were only those aligned with certain groups that deprived most of the combatants from being part of the economic package offered by the government.
Balao-as asserted that almost half of the unprofiled combatants have firearms which they are willing to surrender to government authorities once the group will be able to negotiate a ‘win-win’ solution with the OPAPP and other concerned government agencies.
The Abra official appealed to the RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR not to generalize the CPLA as allegedly involved in illegal recruitment activities in the region because only a few expelled officers and members who are using the government’s advocacy on federalism as a front to their illegal activities that tend to taint the good motive of the unified CPLA command to embrace peace as their vehicle for development in the rural areas.
The RDC-CAR and RPOC-Car also passed a resolution condemning the alleged individuals who are claiming to be CPLA and involved in illegal activities in the region and that they should not be recognized as legitimate members of the unified CPLA command considering that the group does not adhere to such clandestine activities.
The unified CPLA command disowned having officials and members who are going around the region using the government’s advocacy on federalism to recruit innocent individuals to join them with a promise of the recruits having to be integrated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) but they must have to pay a certain fee to them.
Balao-as claimed that the unified CPLA command has never been involved in such questionable activities because they decided to support the region’s renewed quest for autonomy and that the group underwent massive cleansing activities that resulted to the expulsion of some of their leaders and members who had been previously involved in various irregularities that actually ruined the overall image of the group from the perception of the Cordillerans and the unified group is now trying to bring back the group’s good and respectable image.
He pointed out the present officers and members of the unified CPLA still carry the principles that made the group instrumental in realizing the historic Mount Data peace agreement between former President Corazon C. Aquino and CBA-CPLA leader Fr. Conrado Balweg that resulted to the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) by virtue of Executive Order No. 220 issued on July 15, 1987.