CPP Information Bureau
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas today assailed the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights for participating in a psychological warfare campaign against the New People's Army (NPA) after its successful 21 August tactical offensive in Catarman, Northern Samar.
"Without even the pretense of an investigation, the CHR-8's condemnation of the NPA's offensive merely parrots the lies that the police casualties were not legitimate targets and that the NPA used prohibited land mines," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.
"These lies were spread by the military through various means, such as official statements by the 803rd Infantry Brigade (of the Armed Forces of the Philippines), as well as by the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum that is known to be influenced by the military. It is clear from the repetitious accusations that there is a single force attempting to manipulate public opinion, and that can only be the military's psywar campaign against the NPA. The military is following the style of Hitler's propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, in promoting the fascist agenda: A lie when often repeated becomes the truth."
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also said only the most undiscerning and diehard militarists could believe the military's psywar. "The military wants to downplay the political impact of the Catarman ambush by maligning the NPA. It is clearly a lie to say the police — one of the armed services of the reactionary state — cannot be considered a legitimate target. And it is even more outrageous to say the eight heavily-armed policemen were not combat-ready when they set out to aid a government spy punished by the NPA.
Furthermore, the civilians who lived near the ambush site themselves reported to the media that there were no land mines anywhere, contrary to rumors spread by the military. In fact, these civilians and the media have every reason to be furious at the military for causing panic and flight among the people."
Fr. Salas also condemned the CHR-8 for rendering financial assistance to the families of the police casualties, but failing to help civilians who were abused during heavy military operations in Northern Samar after the NPA offensive.
"There is no reason for the CHR-8 to render humanitarian aid to the families of the policemen — they were not victims of human rights violations but died in the performance of their duties as state security forces in a legitimate act of war by the NPA.
Meanwhile, the CHR did not help many civilians who were abused during heavy military operations against the NPA after the Catarman ambush. These civilians suffered harassment, torture, strafing, economic blockade, forced evacuations and other human rights violations. The victims have trooped to the media to expose the abuses of the 52nd Infantry Battalion, 63rd Infantry Battalion, and other government forces in their military operations in Barangays Cuenco, Capotoan, Paco and other villages in Las Navas and nearby Matuguinao.
These military operations continue today and adversely affect the civilian populace.
"The CHR thus ignores the real victims of human rights violations and shows by its words and actions that it is also an instrument of the government's "counterinsurgency" campaign. The people must rely on their own strength in fighting the mounting human rights abuses of the Aquino regime."
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone No. +639196199369