Photo by Geonarri Solmerano

Aquino government wages war for imperialist companies against people of Mindanao

Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

At the very onset of 2012 the US-Aquino regime has waged a cruel, aggressive war against the people of Mindanao in order to pave the way for the unimpeded entry and expansion of multinational large-scale mining and agribusiness plantations in the island. This massive militarization, which includes the constant indiscriminate bombing and shelling of communities plus other human rights abuses of the marauding troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has created a climate of terror and anger and drove the peasant and lumad masses to flee their homes and evacuate to the cities where they can openly express their protest.

In defense of the people, the revolutionary movement has no other recourse but to intensify their attritive and annihilative military actions against the fascist troops.

Under Oplan Bayanihan (Aquino government’s counter-insurgency program), the AFP deployed its two area commands in Mindanao and most of their infantry battalions, including their elite forces and relatively advanced weaponry against all guerilla fronts of the five New People’s Army regions of the island. The rampaging AFP troops conducted indiscriminate bombing, shelling and strafing of at least ten communities in different parts of the island.

On 01 April, a civilian named Jenis Maguate was seriously wounded when an MG-520 helicopter gunship bombed Barangay (village) Sampaguita, Kibawe, Bukidnon. This blatant violation of the International Laws of War, of Protocol I and II, the International Humanitarian Law and the Comprehensive Agreement of Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL) has been glossed over by the reactionary regime as nothing more than standard operating procedure of the AFP’s military operations.

The most concentrated and sustained military operations are being conducted in those areas where the multinational mining and agribusiness companies operate, to wit:

  1. in the quandri-boundary of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur and Sarangani where Xstrata-SMI’s open pit mine is being built, in collusion with the Cojuangcos and Alcantaras;

  2. in the triboundary of Surigao Sur, Surigao Norte and Agusan Norte where the mining companies operate — Greenstone of Manny Pangilinan, Nickel Asia of Manny Zamora, Tag-anito HPAL of Gerard Brimo, SRMI of Gutierrez and Sumitomo;

  3. in the vast agricultural plains of North and South Cotabato where the the Dole-Stanfilco’s plantations are;

  4. in Davao Oriental and in Comval Province where the Russell Mining and Minerals operate;

  5. in the TVI mining areas of Zamboanga and

  6. in Bukidnon where lies the vast plantations of Del Monte, Dole and Sumifru and where the hydroelectric power plant of First Gen is located.

The US-Aquino regime wasted millions of pesos of the taxpayers’ hard earned money for these military operations in the interest of the imperialists and the comprador big bourgeoisie. In North Eastern Mindanao alone, it is estimated that at least P60 million was spent in just one month for the military operations in the mining areas of the region.

But even more costly is the human suffering and social turmoil brought about by Aquino’s war of aggression against the hapless peasants and farmers of Mindanao, such as the continuing evacuation of families, and of entire villages:

  • 250 families from Kitcharao, Cabadbaran, and the hilly portions of Butuan, Agusan Norte, Claver, Surigao Norte and Barobo, Surigao Sur;

  • more than 120 families from Magpet, North Cotabato;

  • more than 50 families from Kibawe, Bukidnon;

  • 19 families from San Fernando Bukidon and some families from Brgy Tibagon, Pantukan, Comval Province, and from Bo. Balabag, Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.

All in all, at least 550 families or a total of 3,000 individuals were forced to leave their homes and crops at this crucial time of harvest and planting. In short, “Typhoon Noynoy” drove away his “bosses” — the peasants and Lumads of Mindanao. The real fascist character of the US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan is immediately laid bare; its slogan of “peace and development” is nothing but a hoax. And we can expect more state violence and more evacuation in the coming days.

The AFP has also continued with its policy of silencing all those who actively resist and oppose exploitative large scale mining, landgrabbing and expansion of plantations as in the coldblooded murders of Fr. Pops Tentorio, Brgy Capt. Jimmy Liguyon and Ramon Batoy. There is also the continuing psy-war operations of the AFP such as the overly rehashed “balik baril program” (gun-return program) for “surrenderees” organized by the military itself.

The objective is none other but to suppress and silence the people and the revolutionary movement which defend them. In this way, the imperialist companies and their local running dogs, the comprador big bourgeois, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalists can continue to pillage and to plunder our natural resources.

Amid this growing violence of the AFP, the people have no other recourse but to fight back in protest — through evacuations, petitions and other forms of mass action in the cities so as to bring their plight to the whole country. More than the ongoing militarization is their unequivocal protest against the widespread loss of land and livelihood as a result of the large-scale mining and plantations in their areas.

As the people’s true army, the NPA is duty-bound to defend the people. Thus, for the first quarter of this year, the NPA in Mindanao launched more intensified and more frequent tactical offensives against enemy troops that resulted to more and more casualties on their part.

For instance, the NPA ambush in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur with 15 enemy troops killed in action (KIA); the ambush in Bagang, Jabonga, Agusan Norte, with 11 KIA and 13 wounded-in-action (WIA) on the enemy side; the ambush in Sangay, Surigao Norte with 5 KIA; and, the ambush in Magpet, North Cotabato with 2 KIA. The NPA also shot at a Huey helicopter on 08 March in the Surigao Sur-Agusan Norte boundary. On the part of the NPA, there were no more than 10 casualties for the same period.

The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the entire revolutionary forces to strengthen further their resolve to thwart the Aquino regime’s war of aggression against the people of Mindanao.

We call on all the units of the NPA to heighten their revolutionary vigilance and determination, to seize initiative and maintain flexibility and thus intensify our guerilla warfare based on an ever widening and deepening mass base. Mount more frequent, more widespread, and more sustained tactical offensives, and prevent the unholy alliance of the ruling reactionary clique and the monopoly capitalists in plundering our natural resources, ravaging the environment, oppressing and exploiting our people for their super profits.

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