AFP peddling fantastic lies to justify martial law extension anew in Mindanao

Statement | 15 November 2018

PHOTO: AFP

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) condemns in strongest terms the fantastic lies being spread by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to justify its proposal to extend martial law in the island.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. in a recent statement said that he will recommend that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte extend martial law in Mindanao in response to clamor by local government units.

He also said that martial law had successfully “diminished the communist threat” and paved the way for so-called successful localized peace talks that resulted in the surrender of more than 11,000 New People’s Army rebels in Mindanao.

These claims are nothing but fabrications by the AFP. The military and the Duterte government are lying through their teeth in a desperate attempt to absolve state forces of atrocities brought about by martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao has resulted in the extrajudicial killings, terrorist-tagging and vilification of legitimate organizations, including the fabrication of charges against leaders and members of progressive organizations to criminalize the struggle for the people’s legitimate demands.

Contrary to the AFP’s claims, not one NPA front in NEMR or even Mindanao, has participated in localized peace talks. The NPA in NEMR and all units under its command had been very vocal in rejecting the bogus localized peace talks. It abides absolutely and sincerely by previously-signed agreements of NDFP-GPH peace negotiations, namely the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL), Joint Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and The Hague Joint Declaration.

NDFP-NEMR maintains that the US-Duterte regime’s localized peace talks are meant merely to deceive and force the revolutionary movement into capitulation. Every front in NEMR correctly views the US-Duterte regime’s localized peace talks as a scheme to obscure the root causes of the armed struggle and perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative ruling system.

The US-Duterte regime’s localized peace talks is part of the comprehensive psy-war operation campaign along the design of Oplan Kapayapaan, together with state fascism and terrorism through all-out war, martial law and “war against drugs”. It is but part of the regime’s counter-insurgency strategy to destroy the revolutionary movement and realize its ambition of establishing a fascist dictatorial rule.

Only the AFP, police, local government units and other related agencies have stood to benefit from the localized peace talks by pocketing millions of funds intended for alleged surrenderees. Each “surrenderee” is allotted a cash assistance worth P10,000. Except for a handful of “NPA regulars”, however, all alleged surrenderees pertain to unarmed civilians in barrios, majority from the peasant sector and Lumad communities, conveniently alluded to as “members of the NPA”.

These hundreds of “surrenderees” have not been charged in court nor has evidence been put forward against them. In most cases, they were forcibly rounded up by soldiers, made to sign blank “attendance sheets” and then presented to the media as “surrenderees”.

Despite the AFP’s blatant lies, the people of Mindanao, especially the peasantry and the Lumad, continue to wholeheartedly support the armed revolution. Martial law in Mindanao has also failed to silence Duterte’s critics and only served to ferment the people of NEMR’s resolve to fight tyranny, repression and intensified fascist attacks, especially on Lumad communities, their supporters and sympathizers.

The AFP and the US-Duterte regime can bloat the numbers and concoct one fantastic lie after another, but it will fail to diminish NPA mass support in NEMR and elsewhere in Mindanao.

Ka Maria Malaya
Spokesperson, NDFP-NEMR