By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — Leaders of the revolutionary movement in Cordillera, in separate statements, said the government’s pronouncement to make the region as the model in ending the communist rebellion is unattainable. They also called on the New People’s Army (NPA) to launch more offensives to counter the government’s campaign.
“Despite the fact that the whole-of-nation approach has been proven as a failure since the Oplan Bayanihan of the US-Aquino 2 regime, Duterte still insists in utilizing the said doctrine as prescribed from the 2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide of the US State Department,” said CPDF spokesperson Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan.
He said the concept behind the formation of task forces under Executive Order 70 of President Duterte or the Joint Campaign Plan (JCP) Kapanatagan is but a “rehashed and updated version” of past counter-insurgency plans.
According to him, like the others, the current program utilizes “divide and rule tactics”, “shock and awe”, “[psychological warfare] and intrigues”. He underscored that the design of the program is to make combat operations more frequent “in the guise of delivery of services and projects” and surrender campaigns that target members of people’s organizations.
He noted “one marked update over the old trick is the arm twisting tactic” of the government that is pressuring local governments to declare the NPA, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as persona non grata “in the vain hope of isolating and vilifying the armed revolutionary movement.”
Naogsan criticized National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and his deputy Vicente Agdamag for thinking that “lack of basic social services and infrastructures” are the only problems in the Cordillera.
He said that this is an “outrageous efforts to vilify and downgrade the revolutionary struggle” and “belittled the struggle of the national minorities as a mere demand for needs.”
The CPDF leader explained the treatment of Cordillera as a “resource base” and “implementation of reactionary land laws and programs” opened the region to destructive projects and environmental plunder.
According to Naogsan, projects like large-scale mining companies, capitalist energy projects, and large dams only benefited big businesses and their partners in the bureaucracy.
“With this viewpoint, the state-imposed militarization to cow the people into submission at the expense of their lands, livelihood and even their lives. Even the commercialization and vulgarization of our indigenous culture through the propagation of tourism directed festivals has served for the neoliberal thrusts,” he said.
The CPDF spokes pointed out the armed resistance reached half a century because the NPA “earned the trust and support” of the indigenous peoples in the Cordillera by “championing and fighting for their right to self-determination and democracy.”
“No amount of lies being spewed and peddled by the spin masters of the regime can prop up the sagging image and fast isolation of the tyrannical fascist regime of the US-Duterte regime,” he added.
“Chadli Molintas Command calls on all unit of the NPA under its command to persevere in launching different kinds of tactical offensives, including the punishment of Duterte death squads,” said NPA Ilocos-Cordillera spokesperson Martin Montana in a statement written in Filipino.
He urged Cordillerans to “intensify their struggle for their democratic rights and aspirations”, and sees this as part of the eventual ouster of President Duterte.
“The people have repeatedly proved to the past regimes that the reactionary state cannot crush their armed resistance,” Montana said.
On August 15, NPA guerillas fired at a patrol base in Sallapadan, Abra killing two militiamen. The attack is the first reported since the military and police launched JCP Kapanatagan last May. # nordis.net