Bangued, Abra: Former Bucloc, Abra mayor Mailed Molina, one of the founders of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) that splintered with the Communist Party of the Philippines–New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) in 1986, decried as “fake” last Saturday’s unification assembly in this capital town supposedly led by Abra Vice Gov. Ronald Balao-as.
“Who is Balao-as in the CPLA?,” Molina fumed as he challenged the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Regional Development Council (RDC) to be circumspect in dealing with the different CPLA factions and fake groups misrepresenting them.
Balao-as was sworn into as unified CPLA chairman in rites officiated supposedly by Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) president Andres Ngao-i.
“True that there are unification plans but the different factions agreed to finalize it,” explained Molina, who together with former SVD priest turned rebel leader Conrado Balweg, broke ties with the CPP-NPA in 1986 and forged a peace pact with the then Corazon Aquino administration resulting in the issuance of Executive Order 220 which created the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Molina said that in April, leaders of the different CPLA factions met with the National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera and OPAPP functionaries and agreed to iron out a CPLA unification agreement.
“Leaders were assigned to make a proposal to fund the unification process,” Molina said, adding “so the process still has to start without agreements yet on who will compose the leadership of the CPLA.”
The RDC in the Cordillera dreams of gathering support for a unified CPLA to help push for regional autonomy in the Cordillera region.
“But with what is happening, the dream for autonomy which we have been fighting for is being spoiled by credit grabbers and fakes,” Molina said.
At present, there are still around 3,000 card-bearing CPLA members in the six provinces of the Cordillera. These are those who were disenfranchised with last Saturday’s fake installation of the so-called unified CPLA chairman, Molina added.
“In deference to genuine CPLA members and genuine factions, I will not recognize the bogus chairman installed last Saturday,” he said.