BAGUIO CITY — In an open letter addressed to all low-ranking government security forces such as those in the CAFGU, AFP troopers and junior officers and policemen, Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) asked them in the name of “…true patriotism and service to the people (to take) a stand against those who oppress and exploit the majority of our fellow Filipinos”.
The open letter was apparently sparked by an incident that took place last January 22, 2009 in an army detachment in Tocucan, Bontoc where a CAFGU militiaman, Jose Wayangen, from Betwagan, Sadanga, Mt. Province shot dead Sgt. Pauig Pattaguan of the 77th IB, after the former was verbally abused and humiliated by the victim.
Naogsan explained that “…Angered by such maltreatment, Wayangen got his M14 rifle, pumped four bullets into Pattaguan, and called on his fellow militiamen to abandon the army detachment. Ten other militiamen, all villagemates of Wayangen, joined him and abandoned their posts”.
He further claims that “….There is a limit to the levels of abuse and humiliation that even the lowliest militiaman will tolerate. Pattaguan ordered Wayangen to perform a menial chore, which the latter did. Afterwards, Pattaguan reprimanded Wayangen for performing the chore. Wayangen replied that he merely obeyed Pattaguan’s exact orders, to which the sargeant responded with a sneering comment and twisted Wayangen’s ears.”
He asserts that “…The AFP treats CAFGU militiamen as second-class citizens, cannon fodder and errand boys. The CAFGU are at the bottom of the military totem pole, the doormat upon which are piled the dirtiest and most humiliating tasks.
During combat operations, CAFGUs are sent in advance as protective screen for operating army troops, which shows how lowly they are regarded by the AFP. And for what? A measly and often delayed monthly allowance that barely pays for a sack of rice.
The salary of the lowest ranking soldier is equivalent to the allowances of four CAFGU militiamen. “Kapit sa patalim,” aptly describes the situation of many impoverished peasant men in the Cordillera and the rest of the Philippine countryside who become easy pickings for the AFPs CAFGU recruitment drive.”
“The killing of Sgt. Pattaguan is not an isolated incident.” explained Naogsan. “ There are numerous cases of militiamen killing regular army troopers; of low-ranking troopers killing their own officers; of junior officers rising in mutiny against their generals and commander-in-chief.
The fascist armed forces is rife with discontent fomented by a culture of violence, corruption, discrimination and greed. Officers discriminate against their men; troopers discriminate against militiamen; members of the majority discriminate against national minorities.
It is Jose Wayangen’s misfortune to be a poor, uneducated, Igorot militiaman serving in an army that demeans him. He responded in the manner that he was treated, violently.
“Ka Filiw” issues a call in the letter “…The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front calls upon all militiamen, troopers and junior officers of the fascist armed forces and the police to look into their situation and see how their lives are put at risk by their generals and commander-in-chief who profit from the largesse of jueteng, illegal drugs and other syndicated crimes. Are you willing to lay down your lives for those who treat you with such disdain?
He lays out the option “….There are several options for you to join or support the armed revolutionary struggle for national democracy. First, militiamen, troopers and junior officers can defect with their weapons and join the New People’s Army.
Those who wish to remain in the AFP and PNP can join the Lt. Crispin Tagamolila Movement or the Tirad Pass Brigade which are clandestine revolutionary organizations for members of the fascist armed forces. Second, refuse your orders, especially those that serve the ruling classes and are against the interests of the Filipino people. Third, quit the armed forces and revert back to civilian life.”
Finally, he ends with a reminder “…You are at a crucial point in history. The bogus, corrupt and brutal regime of Gloria Arroyo and her US imperialist master has its back against the wall. It faces a tsunami of intensifying people’s protests and tactical offensives by the New People’s Army.
The regime becomes increasingly violent as it seeks out means to stay in power beyond 2010. It will call on its armed forces to wreak greater havoc on the people. You will receive orders to maim, kill, pillage and burn. Refuse these orders and do the right thing, stand with the people in their battle to win for themselves a truly free and humane society.”# Northern Dispatch