By SIMON "Ka Filiw" NAOGSAN
Spokesperson, Cordillera People's Democratic Front
We condole with the families of the 29 slain and 35 wounded soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in six clashes with the New People's Army from 27 January to 4 February, just as we would mourn had any of our Red fighters fallen. There will be more casualties if the ongoing massive military operations will not end. Ordinary soldiers are thrust into doomed operations while their generals are enriching themselves thru corruption and as protectors of the illegal drug trade.
Most, if not all, of the AFP casualties probably came from poor peasant and working class families just like the NPA fighters. The main difference is that the rank and file troops unleashed by the 5th Infantry Division serve the exploiting classes of big landlords, corrupt bureaucrats and their imperialist masters, while the NPA fights for the emancipation of the poor from the shackles of poverty, oppression and exploitation, and for the defense of land, life, livelihood and resources.
The Cordillera People's Democratic Front thus calls on the rank and file soldiers as well as junior officers of the 5th ID to defy the orders of their superiors in this doomed military operation. The current military maneuvers have no purpose other than to prepare the region for the arrival of the US troops for the Balikatan US-RP joint military exercises starting this month and provide security for the subsequent entry of large mining companies.
In particular, we call on the rank and file soldiers to defy orders from their immediate superiors who command them to conduct military operations against the NPA. They can file their leave of absence based on any alibi just so as not to participate in the operation. They must not proceed to their target area but instead stay in safer grounds until the operation is terminated. They can pass vital information to or inform any unit of the NPA of their plans so that the Red fighters can advice them where to pass safely. We advise junior officers not to lead their men in areas where they will surely be ambushed.
We encourage them to join the underground Lt. Crispin Tagamolila Movement or resign and find better and more honorable jobs if they are not ready yet to join the revolutionary movement so that together we hasten the overthrow of this corrupt, anti-people and despicable reactionary regime and build a better tomorrow.
In the coming elections, you will surely be commanded to once again intercede and ensure the victory of the administration's candidates, no different from what took place in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly in Maguindanao, where your current commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Rommel Gomez headed the 602nd Infantry Brigade. As exposed by the cashiered Gen. Gudani, the AFP functions as Praetorian Guard and appendage of Malacañang to illegally perpetuate itself in power.
Finally, we call on Igorot military officers not to allow themselves to be used against the interest of their fellow national minorities. The transformation of the military as an “investment defense force” of large-scale mining companies that have appropriated two-thirds of the land area of the Cordillera Region is deplorable. Equally detestable is the appropriation by soldiers of the 503rd Infantry Brigade of a monthly tax of one sack of ore from every small scale mining tunnel in Lacub and Baay-Licuan, Abra. As sons of the mountains, we must all uphold the good aspects of indigenous tribal ways, and the sacredness of life and nature's resources.
When the imperialist pillage of the Cordillera and the entire nation ends, then shall we enjoy the fruits of the mountains, forests, rivers and plains of this country. We will end our mourning and come out of our dap-ays to join in the feast of national liberation.