By Fr. SANTIAGO SALAS (Ka Sanny)
Spokesperson, NDFP Eastern Visayas Chapter
The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today dismissed the 8th Infantry Division-Philippine Army’s claim that the New People’s Army is over in Samar, and said it is the Aquino regime that is likely to end prematurely because of the Mamasapano debacle and other burning issues. “The New People’s Army is looking forward to the threshold of the strategic stalemate in the people’s war in one or two years,” said Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson.
“On the other hand, the commander-in-chief of the military, Benigno Aquino III, is in real danger of not finishing his term because of his proven incompetence and unconcern for the lives of the people, as well as his own troops. Even the military and police are at each other’s throats over the Mamasapano incident. Thus the NPA is confident in fighting forward and supporting the people in the struggle to end an insufferable regime.”
Fr. Salas added that the military is supporting an unpopular regime, while the NPA has the support of the people. “The 8th Infantry Division should be ashamed of itself and start questioning who it is fighting for, when it claims Oplan Bayanihan as a success. For the US imperialist that designed Oplan Bayanihan? For the commander-in-chief Aquino who is a US puppet with no qualms in turning his troops into cannon fodder and repeating Mamasapano over and over again? On the other hand, the NPA is fighting for national sovereignty and the democratic interests of the people, and it will never be defeated because it bears the dignity and freedom of Filipinos at heart.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also said the military’s offensives are repeatedly foiled by the NPA, while civilians suffer human rights violations at the hands of government soldiers. “For example, on 12 and 16 February, combined troops of the 87th Infantry Battalion and the 82nd Division Reconnaissance Company were harassed by the NPA in Barangay (village) Mabini, Basey, Samar. A sergeant was killed and many other soldiers wounded in the NPA offensives.
“On the other hand, civilians in the various sitios (subvillages) of Barangay Mabini have evacuated to the village proper because of indiscriminate firing by government troops. An irate village official also went on air over DYBR FM radio station to complain that the military threatened on 20 February to abduct 20 suspected NPA members from the barangay. The rights of civilians should be respected and the military should not conduct reprisals against civilians because of their losses to the NPA. The people of Basey, a calamity area, have not even recovered fully from past storms and the 8th Infantry Division “storm troopers” are now stomping on them.
“Furthermore, the NDFP-EV calls on the military to surface and free Elpidio Romanca and Artemio Estueta and his wife, civilians from Barangay Mabini who were abducted earlier by the military, and remain incommunicado with no access to family or legal counsel to date.”
Fr. Salas said military abuses only further isolate the Aquino regime and inspire the people to join the armed struggle and the movement to oust it.
“The unjust war under Oplan Bayanihan waged by the Aquino regime will only strengthen the just war to overthrow the reactionary ruling system. The Aquino regime’s days are numbered. It is bound to be swept away from power for its incompetence, brutality, corruption and contempt for the people’s well-being. The people will surely fight for a transition to a government that listens to them and undertakes basic reforms. The revolutionary struggle will also grow stronger until the reactionary ruling system is overthrown and national freedom and democracy is possible.”