By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
FOURTH Infantry Division commander Ronald Villanueva on Wednesday accused the indigenes from Lagonglong town who have camped out at the capitol grounds of being paid evacuees being exploited by the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva told the Talakayan forum at SM Uptown that he wanted more people from the hinterlands to flock at the capitol grounds “para mahurot ang kuwarta sa nagdala nila diha.”
He said it was evident that Sariza Acosta, spokesperson of the Tagtabolon Tribe Organization and leader of over 150 evacuees from Lagonglong, was among those receiving financial support.
“Sayod na man ta, kinsay mga financiers ana nila. Nganong na-a pa man na sila diha nga linaw na man didto sa ilang lugar? Wala na may samok karon didto,” Villanueva said.
He said local officials, including Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, have long been wanting to bring the indigenes back to their homes in Kamansi, Banglay in Lagonglong town but they opted to stay apparently to put the military in a bad light.
Villanueva noted that since June 3, the day the indigenes camped out at the capitol grounds, Gov. Emano never met with them.
“Wala namay gubot didto,” said Villanueva, calling the fleeing of indigenes to the capitol here as a “tactical evacuation to gain international and national financial support.”
Villanueva said it was no longer his concern if the group of indigenes was making money out of it.
He also accused groups supporting the indigenes of exploiting children and women.
“Kung nagdala sila og bata og mga kababainhan, di ba exploitation na sa rights of children and women? Pero dili kana namo concern. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has its own mandate,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva, meanwhile, cautioned local officials against showing sympathy to the indigenes at the capitol grounds, asserting that they were just being used for a black propaganda campaign against the Armed Forces and the Duterte administration.
“We are telling the people to wake up. We are combatting the NPA, a terrorist group,” he said. “Stop this foolishness!”