Red tagged Mayor Magalong firm to continue fight against insurgents

Red tagged Mayor Magalong firm to continue fight against insurgents

GOOD GOVERNANCE.  In the face of “painful” accusations thrown at him, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong remains committed to continuing the fight to protect the country from communist insurgents through good governance, which he said is about the fight against corruption, delivering basic services, innovation, transformation, competent leadership, and respect for human rights, during a media presser at the Mayor’s Office on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Photo by Merriam del Rosario/FNS

BAGUIO CITY — Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong held his ground to continue fighting to protect the government from communist insurgents following “painful” accusations casted on him by National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy on a social media post stating that the mayor “cavorts and gives protection to organizations (KABATAAN Partylist/Cordillera People’s Alliance) that he knows full well are fronts of the terrorist organization CPP NPA NDF”.

The mayor said he was exposed to this type of attack without any basis at all, no due process, no due diligence.

“It is sad that after all these years of service fighting insurgents since I graduated in 1982 until I was in the Special Action Force (SAF), I was leading my men upfront, not from the rear, fighting communist terrorists, pero sa isang iglap lang, parang nawala na lang,” the mayor said.

“While stories empower, humanize, bring good tidings, there are stories that are intended to malign, tainted with negative thoughts, these are the things that rob people of their dignity,” the mayor added.

The mayor said he gives credence to the programs of NTF-ELCAC and supports it because he has seen its unprecedented accomplishments since the time he was fighting insurgents as a lieutenant.

He first served in Abra and Agusan del Norte before joining the Special Action Force (SAF) and heading its Special Operations Battalion from 1997 to 2001.

“I can attest…I saw how the government unified…it’s a whole of government approach to really fight the communist terrorist groups and when you look at the accomplishments, it never happened before, the entire government moving in one direction,” the mayor said.

He said he feels injustice and only asks of his aggressor to be circumspect, be professional, observe due diligence, due process, no bullying, and observe the principles of genuine leadership.

“We are partners here, we should be talking to each other and supporting each other, moving in one direction,” the mayor said.

Magalong quoted retired Philippine Army general and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Cendaña Esperon, Jr. as saying “The best way to defeat insurgents is through good governance,” which the mayor said he is doing in the city of Baguio.

“As local government executive, we don’t draw distinction between conformists and activists. We have to serve everyone no matter what their beliefs or principles are,” the mayor said.

Concerning the youth, the mayor said his program for the youth is how to harness them and to show and convince them that not all is lost and that good governance works, thereby saving more lives and their future.

The mayor also said that if activists and left-wing organizations in the city of Baguio are convinced that good governance works, it is actually saving their mindset, “and if you can change their mindset, you’re actually saving lives”.

“Instead of them joining the regular New People’s Army (NPA), the communist terrorist group, then they will think twice and say that in Baguio, not all is lost, meron palang hope,” the mayor said.

Magalong said he never engaged in red-tagging and said that such term was used by leftists, eventually ending up becoming a victim.

“But does it diminish my resolve to continue fighting for what is right and fighting to protect this government from the insurgents?”

The mayor said, “No, I will continue to fight to protect this country from communist insurgents.”

Magalong said he had requested for an audience, a face-to-face meeting with his accusers, though he is still waiting for a meeting to be scheduled.

Merriam del Rosario