Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday insisted on his proposal top revive the Anti-Subversion Law, saying its repeal in 1992 did not result in peace with communist rebels.

Año, a former military chief, pointed out that that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) and its “front organizations” continue to wage a rebellion and engage in deceit, propaganda, and other illegal activities.

The 1992 repeal might have been a “mistake,” he claimed, as the communist movement only gained momentum in many areas and “grew bolder with the support of legal front organizations,” as the CPP’s political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF), joined peace talks with the government.

“The repeal of the Anti-Subversion law was a demand of the CCP-NPA-NPF for the conduct of the peace talks in the 1990s. In good faith, the government acceded to those demands for the sake of peace. But instead of laying down their arms and joining mainstream society, the communists grew bolder and used the democratic space accorded to them to regroup, organize, and mobilize,” he said.

Año clarified that the proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law would cover only members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and all groups directly supporting it. “It only covers the communists who are actively working to overthrow the government through armed struggle and does not, in any way, cover legitimate dissent, political opposition, or similar groups,” he explained.

He said that the CPP’s constitution – available on the internet – categorically states that its goal is to overthrow the Philippines’ democratic, republican system using the weapons of “revolutionary armed struggle and the national united front.”

“It can’t be denied by anyone that the continued existence and illegal activities of the CPP-NPA-NDF constitute a clear, present, and grave danger to the security of the Philippine state,” Año said.

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison said Año’s proposal was “one more manifestation of the frenzied drive of the tyrannical Duterte regime to impose a thoroughgoing fascist dictatorship.”

“Contrary to the view of the chief suspect in the abduction and forced disappearance of the young activist Jonas Burgos, the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law will not eliminate the Communist Party of the Philippines and the people’s democratic revolution. It will only serve to further violate the national and democratic rights of the people and will thus incite the broad masses of the people to rise up,” Sison said in a statement.

AFP backs Año

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo backed Año’s proposal on Wednesday.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines supports the proposal of the SILG (secretary of interior and local government)….because we have seen the continued recruitment of minors from the schools by groups with leanings to communism,” he said.

“The problem is this undergoes a process. It starts with lectures, then question and answer, then they’ll see who has leadership qualities, who has conviction, good at speaking,” Arevalo said. “The next engagement is they (students) will be joining rallies and demonstrations. They’ll say this is part of freedom of assembly and freedom of redress of grievances. That’s correct but that’s part of the process (of recruitment),” he added.

“They are going to be brought to a controlled environment that will further agitate the emotions of the students against the government. And before they know it, they are already armed and become cadres or regular members of the NPA,” he said. (PressONE.ph)

(Thumbnail photo from DILG Calabarzon website)