We're in Congress, we do not advocate for armed struggle: Bayan Muna lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2020 11:10 AM

Bayan Muna representative Ferdinand Gaite speaks during a press conference with the Makabayan Bloc at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on July 24, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Progressive groups of lawmakers do not serve as a front to the communist groups and do not advocate for armed struggle, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said Thursday.

These groups have a different "form" of pushing for their advocacies, away from the armed revolution, he said. This much was recognized by Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, whose statement was often cited by government officials as supposed recognition of legitimate organizations' ties to the armed movement, said Gaite.

"Maraming organizations na pareho ang pagsusuri pero iba-iba ang paraan. It was a statement that there are armed groups who are pursuing armed struggle," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Kami, we agree sa pag-analyze ng lipunan. However, hindi namin tinutulak ang armed struggle. Kaya nga kami nasa Kongreso, para isulong 'yung parliamentaryong pakikibaka, legal form of struggle," he said.

(There are a lot of organizations who share the same analysis, but pursue different ways. It was a statement that there are armed groups who are pursuing armed struggle. We agree with the analysis of the society. However, we do not push for the armed struggle. That's why we're in Congress, to pursue parliamentary struggle, legal form of struggle.)

The changes they fight for in their "unarmed" struggle include "reforms in the structure of government, in the system of economic and socio-political conditions," said Gaite.

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"Yung sinasabi ni Joma na revolution ay 'yung pagsulong ng pambansang demokratikong pagbabago sa ating lipunan. 'Yun din ang aming paniniwala, na hangga’t di nagbabago ang ganitong sistema ng ating bayan, we will never achieve genuine changes economically, politically, socially," he said.

(The revolution Joma was talking about was the pursuit of a national democratic change in our society. That is also what we believe in, that until these systems are change, we will never achieve genuine changes economically, politically, socially.)

Asked if his group was taking orders from the exiled leader of the CPP, Gaite said: "Of course not."

Gaite and other members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives were placed under surveillance following communist rebels' testimonies, said Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The bloc is composed of 6 party-list representatives from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Kabataan.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said red-tagging the lawmakers "endangers the lives of these duly-elected officials," as he told Parlade to be "more circumspect and cautious" in issuing statements like that.

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