Dabawenyos protest Rep. Alcover’s visit

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 Nov) – The mayor, a councilor and militant leaders here are protesting the upcoming visit here of ANAD (Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy) partylist Rep. Pastor “Jun” Alcover after he was declared “persona non grata” by the city council in 2010.

Alcover is scheduled to join a congressional inquiry on human rights to be held here on November 8-9 (see separate story), according to Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, who will also be attending the hearing.

“Dili siya dapat makatunob og yuta sa Davao (He is not supposed to step on Davao’s soil)”, she said.

She noted that the city council did the right move to declare Alcover, together with Jovito Palparan, persona non grata.

The two partylist representatives were quoted in a local newspaper back in 2009 as having said that Davao had become a breeding ground of the New People’s Army, leading to more violence in the city.

Asked for a comment, Mayor Sara Duterte was quick to joke with her reply: “Magprepare mi og banda and red carpet (We will prepare a band and red carpet).”

“Joke lang to ganina (The statement earlier was a joke). Unfortunately, we don’t have legal basis to prevent him from doing his job. It is enough that he knows he is undesirable and not welcome in the city,” she said.

Duterte added: “And the best way to make him feel like an idiot is to ignore him.”

Councilor Karlo Bello, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s committee on civil, political and human rights, said the council maintains its stand as stated in the 2010 resolution.

While it is a privilege of the council to issue a resolution, they (Alcover and Palparan) also have the right to come here, he told reporters before he presided the regular session.

He said he will attend the congressional inquiry if he would be invited although he has not received an invitation yet.

Also on Tuesday, militant groups staged a protest rally here to remind the city not to welcome Alcover come November 8-9.

“We will stage a protest action outside the venue of the congressional inquiry if he will attend,” Sheena Duazo, of Bayan-Southern Mindanao, said.

She pointed out that Alcover has no credibility to discuss human rights as “he himself is a violator of human rights.”

Duazo cited that Alcover is guilty of red tagging or the act of subjectively branding someone as communist or member of the New People’s Army (NPA), noting that most victims of extrajudicial killings were also victims of red branding.

The 2010 resolution states that the city council “strongly condemns the statements of Jun Alcover and Jovito Palparan and their partylist groups and declaring them and their groups as persona non grata in Davao City.”

In the resolution, Alcover was quoted in the local newspaper Mindanao Daily Mirror as saying that the people in the hinterlands here continue to wallow in poverty primarily because of the continuing communist insurgency that disturbed their livelihood.

“The Duterte administration has perpetuated the killing field image of Davao City that started in the early 80s when the NPA made the place its laboratory for urban insurrectionism and Sparrow Unit liquidation,” Alcover was quoted in the article published in 2009.

Meanwhile, in another article in the same newspaper, Palparan was quoted as saying: “Duterte should take part of the blame for the increasing boldness of the communist New People’s Army in Davao City.”

Both Alcover and Palparan made it appear to the rest of the county and the world that the city is a breeding ground for NPA guerillas which bring violence that is detrimental to the progress and development of the city, the resolution said. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)