(A Statement on the Disarming of Another Phil. Army Detachment)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is at it again. Every time public attention is focused on their tactical military defeats and political black eye, the officialdom of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) armed forces resorts to alibi-making and truth-twisting. This, in a vain attempt to diminish increasing levels of public disbelief of whatever false claim of victory against the revolutionary forces they make.
In the aftermath of yet another raid-disarming of a 72nd Infantry Battalion (IB) 10th Infantry Division detachment in Compostela Valley by a platoon of the Armando Dumandan Command-Front 33 that saw its complete overrun and seizure of 14 high-powered rifles, twin excuses are being offered. One is the familiar suspicion on CAFGU elements manning the detachment; the other is the role played by supposed “civilian sympathizers”.
The first alibi is a familiar twist which aims to exculpate 72nd IB- AFP and other battalion higher-ups from their command responsibility for failure of intelligence and other acts of omission. The second is pure harassment that is part of the psychological-propaganda groundwork for further attacks against peasant residents, surely to be presented later not as civilian and unarmed victims of AFP death squads but as casualties of a “legitimate AFP military operation”. Other military propagandists would even call the seizure of rifles as “robbery” and the attack on AFP/PNP detachments as “criminal acts”, thereby exposing their sheer ignorance of the Geneva Conventions and its Protocols which ascribes legitimacy on such acts against such military target during situations of armed conflict.
By and large, both alibis reveal the extent of the AFP’s desperation resulting from the failure of the Arroyo government’s Oplan Bantay Laya II all-out war. Also, they betray the state of confusion prevailing within the GRP military establishment. That despite billions of public money at their disposal, direct US military intervention, massive operations and various propaganda campaigns to demonize the revolutionary forces, the NPA is still able to expand and deepen its mass base, intensify guerrilla warfare and reap considerable political and military victories.
At the least, these excuses and acts of the AFP would only serve to increase the demoralization in their ranks and cause the commission of more atrocities against the people in the countryside. All these in furtherance of Arroyo’s impossible dream of defeating the revolutionary movement that is grounded on just causes and deeply-rooted among the masses.
In the coming days, weeks and months, the people will again hear of these AFP alibis and lies in the heels of more NPA tactical offensives and political action by the masses against the illegitimate, corrupt and fascist Arroyo regime.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army