MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 11:55 a.m.) Communist rebels in the Southern Tagalog said mothers in the New People’s Army leave their children behind for the same reasons overseas Filipino workers do — to build a better future for their offspring.
“Ang pag–iiwan sa mga anak ay hindi sa pagiging iresponsableng magulang kundi sa hindi maiiwasang sitwasyon dahil sa kalagayan ng bansa — ang karalitaan at kahirapan (Leaving the children is not because one is an irresponsible parent but because of the inescapable condition of the country — poverty and misery),” Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, spokesman of the NPA’s Melito Glor Command, said in a statement.
Padilla was responding to President Rodrigo Duterte’s attempt to explain a recent comment for which he received widespread criticism, that soldiers should not kill female rebels but shoot them in their vaginas to render these “useless.”
The rebel spokesman had earlier warned that Duterte’s remark “gives further license to military, police and paramilitaries to conduct heinous crimes and sexual violations against militant Filipino women in the countryside in an attempt to suppress their revolutionary sentiments.”
Monday, news reports quoted Duterte as saying at the opening of a shooting range in Davao that the comment, which he made to more than 200 former rebels in Malacañang was meant to be “sarcasm” and came from a rebuke he said he made to a rebel couple who saw their grown up son when they surrendered after many years of separation.
“Sabi ko, ‘Kayong mga buang kayo, sali-sali kayo ng NPA tapos sige anak. Pabaril ko ‘yang pekpek ninyo’ (I said, ‘You are crazy, joining the NPA then having children. I’ll have you shot in the vagina’),” he was quoted as saying.
But Padilla dismissed this explanation, saying: “Ang pang–iinsulto ni Duterte sa mga kababaihang NPA ay hindi lamang sa NPA kundi sa lahat ng kababaihan sa bansa (Duterte’s insult against women in the NPA is not just against the NPA but all women in the country).”
“Isang malaking sakripisyo sa mga kababaihang NPA ang pag–iwan ng mga anak para baguhin ang bulok na lipunan na patuloy pang pinabubulok ni Duterte. Ito ay para sa kinabukasan mismo ng mga anak (It is a huge sacrifice for women in the NPA to leave their children to change this rotten society that Duterte continues to wosen. This is for the future of their children),” the rebel spokesman said.
But the sacrifice aside, Padilla said, “Isang karangalan ang pagsasakripisyo ng mga kababaihang NPA na iwanan ang kanilang pamilya upang hanapin ang tamang landas tungo sa pagbabagong panlipunan at kaunlaran ng bayan (It is an honor for the women in the NPA to sacrifice by leaving their families to find the right path toward social change and national development).”
“Tulad ng mga kababaihang OFW na nagsasakripisyong iwanan ang kanilang pamilya at anak para mabigyan ng kinabukasan ang pamilya, ang kababaihang NPA ay lumahok sa digmang bayan upang ibagsak ang isang kurap at nabubulok na sistemang panlipunan (Like women OFWs who sacrifice by leaving their families and children to give them a future, women in the NPA join the people’s war to topple a corrupt and rotten social system),” he added.
“Kung hindi dahil sa sosyo–ekonomikong kalagayan ng Pilipinas, ang mga magulang ay hindi mapipilitang iwanan ang kanilang anak (If not for the socio-economic conditions in the Philippines, parents would not be forced to leave their childen),” he said.