New People’s Army has nothing to do with burning of Masbate school — CPP

CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today lambasted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for making baseless claims that the New People's Army (NPA) was behind the burning of a public school building in a Masbate barrio last Monday evening.

An official of the Philippine Army's 9th Infantry Division yesterday accused the NPA of razing the three-classroom school building in Barangay Gaid, Dimasalang, Masbate. Maj. Harold Cabunoc, the division's public information officer claimed that "ten suspected members of the NPA set the school building on fire on midnight of Monday and hurriedly fled while firing shots in the air."

The CPP noted that the AFP's claim is actually a "carbon copy of a similarly baseless claim" last December that NPA fighters burned down a public school building in Quezon.

"Psywar operatives of the AFP are at it again, spinning lies to disparage the NPA," said the CPP in response.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) later belied the AFP claim. Masbate PNP Chief Ed Benigay clarified that the burning down of the Gaid Elementary School building "was done by some disgruntled parents who reportedly got mad… over perceived discrimination in the school's nourishment program."

School officials were supposed to provide one kilogram of rice per day for school children under the government's "food for school" program, but parents of the school children have been complaining that their children weren't being given their rice allocation.

The CPP said that "Aside from seizing every opportunity to immediately blame the NPA for supposed wrongdoings, AFP officials are also out to cover up the real reasons behind the burning of the school building and thus put a lid on the grievances of the local residents."

"In everything they do, the AFP's mouthpieces spew lies in their desperation to demonize the NPA and cover up military abuses, bureaucratic corruption and the proliferation of other evils in the rotten government and ruling system."

"Local units of the CPP and NPA will look into the incident and determine how they can help the local residents assert their demands from the government," the CPP stated.