Maharlika posted a video of Father Conrado Balweg, a rebel or member of the New People’s Army.
In this video, he admitted that it was Cory Aquino’s administration who should be blamed why the NPA has their resurgence. He admitted that before Marcos was kicked out of Malacanang, the NPA is almost out. The Cordillera group are the only one remaining in the battle but since Cory came to power it went the other way.
Read some of the articles that were published during those times and you guys be the judge.
Followers of rebel priest Father Conrado Balweg plan to expand their influence in northern Luzon´s Cordillera mountains by mounting a massive education campaign in the villages.
Father Patricio Guyguyon, Father Balweg´s co-worker and vice chairman of the 33-organization Cordillera People´s Alliance (CPA), revealed these plans to UCA News.
Though Father Balweg´s followers control only a fraction of the mountain range and its 800,000 mountain people, his followers see themselves as the wave of the future in the area, Father Guyguyon said.
They have this attitude, he explained, because President Corazon Aquino treats Father Balweg as the principal spokesman of the tribal mountain people.
Father Balweg´s critics have noted that the area he controls — “the most traditional, most culturally indigenized area of the mountains,” according to Father Guyguyon — has 50,000 people.
Father Balweg´s Cordillera People´s Liberation Army (CPLA) is estimated at “1,000 at the very most. ” He also controls a supplementary civilian body, the Cordillera Bodong (peace pact) Administration (CBA).
“Cory (Aquino) has lionized Father Balweg and given him instant credibility,” an observer said.
Father Guyguyon explained Aquino´s attitude, “She feels more at home with Father Balweg and his people than with the NPA (New People´s Army) and the Muslims of Mindanao.”
For example, she is far more comfortable with Father Balweg´s demands than with the NPA demand for a radical restructuring of the country´s industry, said Father Guyguyon who, with Father Balweg, had a private lunch with Aquino at the presidential palace Dec. 16.
Father Balweg has insisted that the mountain peoples own their ancestral land and all natural resources, that they have an autonomous form of government, and that their culture be respected and allowed to develop.
Aquino herself has admitted being at ease with Father Balweg and his group, according to Father Guyguyon. “She has said she finds our group ´churchy´ because there are so many priests, sisters and ex-seminarians on our panel.”
Father Guyguyon admitted that Aquino´s support of Father Balweg undermines the communist-led NPA which remains strong in the area.
— The NPA will resist attempts to expand the CBA sphere of influence, predict observers who discount the peace talks between the NPA and CBA.
The NPA regards Father Balweg as a renegade for leaving them in 1986, bringing many tribal cadres with him. The NPA has prepared another priest, Father Ed Balicao, as Father Balweg´s rival.
The NPA gathered strength in the mountains since the mid-1970s, as it led tribal resistance to the construction of dams along the Chico River.
“These dams would have flooded our villages and rice terraces, but we would not have received any of the electricity they produced,” Father Guyguyon said.
Father Balweg said he left the NPA when it wanted to use the Cordilleras as a staging area for continuing war against government. He said he refused to have his people used to fight other people´s wars.
He also declared that the NPA´s Marxist ideology is alien to the tribal peoples. Social scientists have generally described Cordillera villages as having an egalitarian, self-sufficient way of life.
The Cordillera peoples´ history combines resistance to outside control and inter-village and inter-tribal warfare.
Father Guyguyon recalled that in 1979, Jesuit Bishop Francisco Claver predicted the mountain people would cooperate with the NPA until a change in the national political scene would bring more freedom.
Then, the bishop said, the mountain people would choose to go their own way.
“This is exactly what happened,” said Father Guyguyon. “We worked with the left as long as (deposed president Ferdinand) Marcos was the only alternative.
“But with the new government, we are free to struggle for what we really want — our own land, government and culture, which is heavily religious.”
— As talks on autonomy of the Cordillera mountain region proceeded, Bishop Emiliano Madangeng of Mountain Province vicariate cautioned that autonomy will make little difference.
“By the time autonomy comes, the new politicians will be the same as the old,” the bishop told UCA News Jan. 2.
Autonomy is four years away at the soonest, predicted Baguio City Mayor Francisco Paraan, who said the first critical step is ratification of the new constitution Feb. 2.
He also noted that the five Cordillera provinces — Abra, Mountain Province, Kalinga-Apayao, Benguet and Ifugao — do not belong to the same administrative region.
Thus, he continued, the next step is to constitute these provinces into a single administrative region.
“If autonomy comes in four or five years, we can worry about it then,” Mayor Paraan said. “Let´s worry now about present problems.”
The mayor also declared that few people in the mountains understand the meaning of autonomy, an issue the NPA raised consistently in the past.
Some mountain people do not favor autonomy because they think it means the national government will not help the area any more, he continued.
— Mayor Paraan appeared surprised by reports that the CBA hopes to expand its sphere of influence.
He said Father Balweg is sincere, wants nothing but peace and has no political ambitions.
Father Guyguyon, Mountain Province vicariate social action director, said that he and the vicariate´s younger Filipino priests favor the CPLA and CBA´s call for autonomy.
“But we are not devotees of Father Balweg or any other individual,” he said. “We feel most mountain people agree with us in their hearts and will support us and autonomy if we have a chance to talk to them.”
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Church influence in the Cordilleras is strong, said Mayor Paraan who noted that most educated citizens and nearly all top leaders there today were educated at Church schools or seminaries.
Maryknoll Sister Teresa Dagdag, who works with tribal women and the CBA, said she hopes people´s organizations, especially those of the poor, will have a strong voice in making decisions.
“I look forward to having tribal women take part in the political process,” she said. “Right now, as in most old cultures, the women do not participate very much. We´re trying to change that.”
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