I used to live in Cotabato but left last year to work in Manila, but all my relatives are still there. I would like to react to the letter of Ms. Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan. I disagree with all her observations and suggestions –scrapping of paramilitary groups or the CAFGU, Civilian Volunteer Organization or CVOs and the repeal of Executive Order 546 which allows local officials to employ CAFGUs and CVO to help address insurgency and guard the people’s safety.
Perhaps Ms. Palabay has not had the experience of living in a barangay where NPAs operate. They disturb the peace and extort money, force the populace to support them.
With the CAFGUs and CVOs around, a barangay can be safe from insurgent activities. The employment of CAFGUs and volunteer organizations were necessary because of the presence of NPAs. If there were no NPAs, there will be no need for the paramilitary troops and CVOs to be created and activated to protect the people.
Ms. Palabay seems unaware of what NPAs do in most barangays. By the tone of her letter, we already know who she represents. I am a relative of a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and he and his fellow CAFGUs have kept our Barangay in Cotabato peaceful and orderly. The country needs CAFGUs, CVOs and the non-repeal of EO 546. Ms. Palabay thank you for your own opinion but which is not acceptable at the moment.
Ms. Lucea I. Dimas