Disarm and disband the paramilitaries!

The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao asserts that all paramilitaries must immediately be disarmed and disbanded. Their very presence and continued operations only sow terror and disunity and aggravate the dire situation of Lumads and peasants in the countryside, especially in Mindanao.

The NPA likewise takes stock of GPH Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “take full control of the paramilitaries” they recruit and arm with weapons “issued by the government” as it effectively unmasks the AFP’s direct command over these armed groups. It is also a recognition of the countless crimes and injustices that paramilitaries have committed and continue to commit even with the declaration of the GPH unilateral ceasefire.

Last September 13, the paramilitary Blackfighter of the 39IB-AFP killed and looted peasant couple Norberto and Rita Gascon in Brgy Lanao Kuran, Arakan, North Cotabato. On July 30, the paramilitary New Indigenous Peoples’ Army Reform (NIPAR) headed by notorious killer Alde “Butchoy” Salusad strafed a Lumad wedding, killing Makinit Gayuran, a pregnant woman, in San Fernando, Bukidnon. On July 1, the paramilitary Bagani Mansandong, also of the 39IB, mutilated before summarily killing Noel “Ka Jepoi” Gulmatico, a Red fighter, in Magpet, North Cotabato.

The crimes of paramilitaries have become increasingly frequent and vile, especially under the IP-centric Oplan Bayanihan tailored from the US Counterinsurgency Guide. The AFP tried in vain to wash their hands clean of the bloody murders of ALCADEV Administrator Emerito Samarca and mass leaders Dionel Campos and Bello Sinzo and many other innocent civilians and non-combatants, including the Italian missionary Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio. The AFP is responsible for the heinous crimes committed by paramilitaries such as the Alamara in Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur, the Bagani in North Cotabato, the Magahat in Surigao del Sur and the Mandaya Ancestral Defense Unit (Manadu) in Davao Oriental, among others. Worse, these groups have become more abusive and enjoy impunity as they are being coddled by fascist bureaucrats like Davao Oriental Congresswoman Corazon Malanyaon and North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco.

At the same time, the AFP, when it suits its purpose, use these paramilitaries as convenient excuse for their own violations. On July 27, during the GPH unilateral ceasefire, the 72IB-AFP mobilized the Alamara in an offensive operation in the hinterlands of Kapalong, Davao del Norte which resulted in a counter-offensive action by the NPA. The AFP later cried foul over the incident claiming that the Alamara were members of the CAFGU who were returning home from their combat operation.

Presently, NPA units around the region have reported continued troop movements by the AFP and their paramilitaries in direct violation of the GPH unilateral ceasefire. Aside from combat operations against the Red army, they carry on with their psywar and counter-revolutionary activities against civilians in the guise of Peace and Development Outreach Program under Oplan Bayanihan. They camp in barangay halls and schools, harass community educators and students, routinely conduct patrols that terrorize communities and subvert civilian authority. These combat operations and so-called civic-military operations, more than being mere defiance of the direct orders of the AFP’s commander-in-chief, are tantamount to derailing the peace process that aims to seriously address the roots of the armed conflict.

Under US-directed counterinsurgency campaigns, the AFP has actively recruited, armed and deployed paramilitaries to commit the most atrocious war crimes that violate People’s Rights, the International Humanitarian Law and CARHRIHL. Disarming and disbanding paramilitaries necessarily comply with the GPH unilateral ceasefire declaration to forward the peace negotiations.


Continuing AFP operations, presence in communities undermine GRP ceasefire

To support the determination of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to engage the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in peace negotiations, units of the New People’s Army (NPA) have strictly complied with the 7-day (August 21-27) ceasefire declaration issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army.

Towards this aim, NPA units are also set to release at least seven prisoners-of-war in Surigao and Compostela Valley. In Northern Mindanao, the NPA command took the initiative of extending the effectivity of the ceasefire to facilitate the safe and orderly release of the said prisoners, all of whom are GRP police officers who were accosted to undergo preliminary investigation.

In light of positive developments in peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway, the leadership of the CPP and command of the NPA are encouraged to issue an extension of the unilateral declaration of ceasefire. The declaration will be issued after the results of the Oslo talks are made public.

We are also encouraged by the statements of GRP President Duterte encouraging soldiers and police to be friendly with the revolutionary forces as well as by recognition of the revolutionary government led by the CPP that exist in large parts of the country.

The CPP, however, must strongly criticize the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for maintaining their presence and continuing to make aggressive moves in and around the areas of operations of the NPA which form part of the territories of the people’s democratic government.

There have been persistent reports of continuing presence of armed operating troops of the AFP in barangay centers, occupying barangay halls, community schools and day care centers, senior citizen centers and other civilian structures. They continue to set up detachments or physical bases in the center of civilian population.

Local residents have questioned why armed operating troops of the AFP are entering their barangays, knowing that the Duterte government has declared a ceasefire. According to our reports, when questioned, field commanders invariably justify their presence with claims of ‘peace and development’, ‘anti-drug’, ‘anti-logging’ and ‘visitations’. To the people, these are nothing but thinly-veiled pretexts to impose their armed presence and to carry out psywar, surveillance and search and combat operations against the NPA.

The presence and operations of the AFP in rural communities undermine the credibility of the Duterte government among the people as it projects an image of disunity within the GRP or refusal of the AFP to abide by the order of its commander-in-chief.

AFP units have maintained their presence in civilian communities in Kalinga, Isabela, Abra, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Negros Occidental, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Bukidnon and Compostela Valley.

People are made to suffer the oppressive presence of armed operating troops of the AFP which instill fear on civilians. The people’s right to free movement is restricted for fear of being accosted by the soldiers or because of the outright imposition of curfew.

Economic activity is affected as peasants choose not to tend theirfields for fear of being questioned by soldiers. There have been restrictions on commerce, particularly, on the amount of goods that can be purchased by community stores. Community leaders, especially those active in struggles for land and against mining are being summoned or “invited” by the AFP.

Peasants, Lumad and other minority peoples seek the assistance of peace advocates, human rights groups, media and alternative media groups, students, lawyers, church people and others to help draw attention to their plight and amplify their call for the withdrawal of armed troops from their communities.

The AFP must also stop making the stupid counter-demand for the NPA to also withdraw from their communities. These are nothing but empty noise to drown the clamor for their removal. In the first place NPA units do not set up detachments inside the communities or use barangay halls as their barracks.

In light of GRP President’s call, we anticipate him to be sympathetic to the plight of the peasants and Lumad and see the urgency of ordering the withdrawal of AFP troops from civilian communities.

The continuing presence of armed troops of the AFP in rural communities also undermine and endanger the ceasefire declarations separately issued by GRP President Duterte and the CPP.

Operating troops of the AFP have been using the rural communities as base to launch aggressive operations into the interior areas where they believe NPA units are based.

Over the past week, NPA units across the country have reported that they were forced to carry out lateral and counter-encirclement maneuvers to avoid skirmishes with active and aggressive units of the AFP.

If the AFP will insist on maintaining its presence in communities and launching aggressive operations into the interior areas, armed skirmishes are bound to erupt despite the NPA’s effort to maintain the ceasefire.

For the CPP and Duterte ceasefires to persist, the negotiating panels of the GRP and the NDFP can establish more explicit ground rules and systems of monitoring and reporting.

Order to suspend all offensive operations of the NPA in Surigao Del Sur and Surigao Del Norte until August 31, 2016 to facilitate the release of the five (5) prisoners of war in NEMR

Given that a unilateral ceasefire declaration of the CPP-NPA is currently in effect since 12:01 midnight of August 21 until 11:59 midnight of August 27, 2016, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) hereby orders all units of the New People’s Army whose area of responsibility covers San Miguel, Tago, Tandag City, Cortes, Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid, Cantilan and Carrascal in Surigao del Sur and the whole province of Surigao del Norte to CONTINUE TO SUSPEND ALL OFFENSIVE OPERATIONS until midnight (12:00) of August 31, 2016.

This declaration is to ensure the safety and security of the Prisoners of War (POW), Third Party Facilitators, the New People’s Army custodial units, and all those who will attend the release of prisoners of war PO1 Richard Yu of the PNP-Carmen in Surigao del Sur; PO2 Caleb Sinaca, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas and NPU Rodrigo Angob of the Malimono Municipal Police Station and SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao of the Surigao City Police Office in Surigao del Norte.

Given that the GRP President Rodrigo Duterte has declared an indefinite UNILATERAL ceasefire which started midnight of August 21, 2016, we expect that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (AFP-PNP-CAFGU) and its paramilitary forces will abide by the order of its commander-in-chief and will have completely suspended the offensive military operations especially in the abovementioned areas. Should the AFP-PNP-CAFGU units fail to comply with the directive, they shall be subject to counter-offensive and active-defense military actions of the NPA after the lifting of the NPA unilateral ceasefire at the dawn of August 28, 2016.

In relation to this, all responsible units concerned with the security of the area must report immediately to their higher command any and all developments in the field in order to help enable the NDFP-NEMR to make timely appraisals and directives based on the situation.

This ceasefire order to all responsible units means the temporary cessation of any military actions by concerned NPA units against whatever unit or individual members of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU. All concerned NPA units, however, must maintain their active-defense posture within the given timeframe of the ceasefire, and must not hesitate to defend its forces and the masses within its area of responsibility.

It is ordered further that after the release of prisoners of war PO1 Ricard Yu, PO2 Caleb Sinaca, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas, NPU Rodrigo Angob and SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao, all NPA units must move to a more secure location to prepare themselves and the masses in the area against possible attacks by enemy forces.

Ka Maria Malaya

No more cooperation with Duterte’s undemocratic and anti-people “drug war”

The anti-drug war of the Duterte regime has rapidly spiralled into a frenzied campaign of extra-judicial killings and vigilante murders perpetrated by the police and by police-linked criminal syndicates. Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in just a little more than one month. The rights of tens upon thousands of people are being violated as the criminal justice system is upturned.

Police officials have brazenly carried out summary killings against suspected drug peddlers and users. Hundreds have been killed while “resisting arrest” or while under custody and detention, in police cars as well as in jails.

Duterte’s “drug war” has clearly become anti-people and anti-democratic. Human rights are being violated with impunity by police personnel, emboldened by Duterte’s assurances of “I got your back” and his public declarations of contempt against human rights.

The Duterte regime has unleashed unmitigated violence and threats of violence against the people, mostly victims and people at the lowest rungs of the criminal syndicate ladder. In contrast, the suspected big drug lords and their protectors are afforded courtesy calls to Malacañang, accommodations in Camp Crame’s guest house and preliminary investigations by the NBI. The worst that they have been made to undergo is to suffer the lectures of the PNP chief.

What was before the burden of the accuser to prove someone’s guilt is now the burden of the accused to prove his innocence. Duterte has come up with one list after another of so-called protectors, narco-politicians and judges without proof nor clear basis for accusations of their involvement in drugs. He could not even tell the people how the lists were drawn. It is a mystery even to the chief intelligence officer and head of the PNP.

Duterte has become so full of himself and intoxicated with the vast power he is not used to handle that he thinks he can get away with upturning the criminal judicial system and denouncing people for defending human rights. He dishes out threats of imposing martial law. He has made himself a laughing stock among legal circles. He, however, is not laughing and threatens anyone who chooses to stand in his way.

Duterte’s “drug war” is bound to fail because it does not address the socio-economic roots of the problem. It has been proven in history that no amount of killing will succeed in putting an end to the drug menace. After ten years of the “anti-drug war” in Mexico, and with almost 80,000 people killed, the intensity of the drug problem remains the same if not worse. In Thailand, around 3,000 people were killed from 2003 to 2005, at least half of whom were later proved to be not involved in drugs. The drug problem has become worse.

The “drug war” is set to spiral into a war among the criminal drug syndicates, between one narco-politician against another, using the resources of the state and to further entrench themselves in the reactionary state. The “drug war” is also fast becoming one of the facets of the factional struggle within the reactionary ruling classes, for control of resources, territories, police and military units.

Duterte’s war is set to unleash more violence and counter-violence, political maneuverings as well as media contests between rival criminal syndicates as represented by their politicians and police protectors.

In all likelihood, many of the summary and vigilante killings are being carried out by the criminal syndicates who use the “anti-drug war” as camouflage for waging all-out war against their rivals and their rival protectors in the police, bureaucracy and judiciary or to rub-out their own men. It would be no surprise that the information made public by Duterte about police protectors, narco-politicians and judges were fed to him by rival criminal syndicates.

All democratic forces must unite and demand justice and an end to the madness of police and vigilante killings. They must unite to defend human rights. At the same time, the people should amplify their urgent clamor for jobs and land to improve their economic condition, make them productive and draw them away from social misery and desperation, in order to, thus, end the conditions for the proliferation of drugs.

In line with standing orders, the New People’s Army (NPA) will continue to intensify its operations to arrest and disarm drug trade operators and protectors. However, these will no longer be considered as cooperative with the Duterte regime’s undemocratic and anti-people “war on drugs.” As before, the NPA will continue to exercise due process in dealing with suspects, such as those PNP officers presently in custody in Compostela Valley and Surigao del Sur.

The CPP calls on the people to struggle against the rampant problem of drug addiction, as they wage revolutionary struggle to overthrow the system that perpetuates it as well as other forms of oppression. The most effective way of waging war against drugs is by rousing the people and mobilizing them to become active participants in social revolution.

The rampant problem of drug addiction among the people should be addressed in the economic as well as political and cultural fields. In thousands of barangays and clusters of several where the revolutionary forces hold sway and exercise governmental authority, drug addiction has been virtually wiped out through mass struggles.

In the base areas of the NDFP, the active participation of the youth and other sectors in revolutionary political, cultural, economic, military and social affairs, have drawn them away from the culture of individualism, self-indulgence and escapism. Here, drug abuse and drug addiction can no longer take root.

Abusive AFP operating troops in Monkayo, Comval struck in NPA counter-offensives, 6 firearms seized

The 8th Pulang Bagani Company-New People’s Army carried out a series of counter-offensives against the operating troops of the 25th Infantry Battalion, punishing 11 fascist soldiers and seizing six firearms during a raid, an attritive action and an ambush on August 2, 4 and 5, 2016 in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley.

The NPA’s punitive action is a just reprisal in the face of atrocities committed by the 25th IB combat soldiers such as ransacking of civilian houses and farms, mauling and intimidation of peasants and Lumads in Monkayo town since June. In fact, the notorious Army unit had not reduced the intensity of its combat-intel-psywar operations in the communities during GRP. Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s short-lived unilateral ceasefire last week.

The 8th PBC-NPA on August 2, neutralized Cpl. Castro, an intelligence operative of the 25thIB who was caught conducting combat intel operation in the communities of Brgy. Baylo, Monkayo. Seized from him were a 9mm caliber and .22 caliber pistols.Two days later, the Red fighters engaged a platoon of the 25th IB in Brgy. Pasian, Monkayo, killing two Army soldiers and wounding three others.

At around 7:30 this morning, August 5, the Red fighters successfully ambushed a company of the 25th IB in Sitio Inuburan, Brgy. Rizal, killing 5 AFP troops, seizing two M203 grenade launchers, one M4 rifles, Harris radios, and several other military hardware.

The 8th PBC’s tactical counter-offensives against an abusive AFP unit in the peasant and Lumad villages should serve as a stern warning to other operating Army units in Southern Mindanao region. These AFP troops that are active in combat-intel-psywar operations in the countryside continue and remain to be legitimate targets of the Red Army.

The NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command has directed all Red fighters in the region to remain on alert status, intensify its base building and base defense work, expand its services in the guerilla bases and guerilla zones, punish AFP troops operating in civilian communities, and pursue revolutionary justice for the basic masses who are victims of repression and fascist abuses.

As it awaits positive development in the forthcoming peace negotiations between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the Red Army shall defend its ranks and the masses through armed offensives and counter-offensives, foil the AFP’s treacherous and ruthless military operations, and remain committed in addressing the roots of the armed conflict.

Rigoberto F. Sanchez