AFP infestation of barangays forcing thousands of people to flee

Communist Party of the Philippines
19 July 2018

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends its solidarity with the thousands of minority people in Lianga, Surigao del Sur who were forced to leave their homes last July 16 after being subjected to more than a month of nonstop harassment and abuses by combat troops of the AFP’s 75th IB.

At least 1,600 residents of Barangay Diatagon, largely minority Manobos, marched for close to 10 hours to the town center of Lianga to seek safe haven from military attacks. Combat troops attempted to block the roads, prevented journalists from covering the story and stopped relief workers from extending assistance.

The evacuation of residents of Lianga is the second time since martial law was imposed last year in Mindanao, and the third since the 2015 killings of their community leaders.

Theirs is just the most recent case of mass exodus. Just over a month ago, several hundred residents from Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental fled their AFP-occupied community after being subjected to threats of reprisals by officials of the 58th IB following armed encounters with the NPA. Towards the end of June, residents of Barangay Bantaawan, Gingoog City left their community a week after it was occupied by a platoon of combat troops under the 58th IB. They have sought shelter in Cagayan de Oro City where various groups have extended support.

Several hundred barangays suffer from AFP infestation nationwide. Peasants and minority people are subjected to relentless attacks by AFP troops under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and total war against civilians. Millions of peasants suffer from de facto martial law conditions nationwide. Minority peoples are especially targeted. Extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, forcible “surrender,” maltreatment, harassments and other military abuses run rampant.

Acting in behalf of big foreign capitalists and their local associates, Duterte is driving peasants away from their homes in order to take over their farms and ancestral lands. Lianga, in particular, is part of the resource-rich Andap Valley Complex Complex in which Duterte has given special interest to and is being coveted by big mining companies for its rich coal reserves. Among the companies operating or explorting in the area are Benguet Corp, Abacus Coal Exploration and Development Corporation, Great Wall Mining and Power Corp., ASK Mining and Power Corporation and Coalblack Mining Corporation. The AFP has deployed at least four battalions in the area including the 75th IB, as well as the 36th IB, 88th IB, and the 16th SFB.

By mounting relentless attacks against civlians, the Duterte regime is rousing millions of peasants and minority people to wage all-out resistance to defend their farms and ancestral lands against incursions by big capitalists. The New People’s Army will continue to mount tactical offensives against the fascist units of the AFP, in line with its task of defending the rights and interests of the oppressed and exploited.