By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for using civilians, including a number of minors in staging a fake surrender ceremony last Saturday (29 March 2014). The public ceremony was initiated by the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.
“This AFP claim of a mass surrender is a hoax,” said the CPP. “It is a desperate bid to cover up its losses in the field and the steady growth of the New People’s Army, especially in the areas covered by the 4th Infantry Division in the Caraga region.”
Last Saturday, the AFP chief of staff himself presided over the “surrender ceremonies” where they rounded up scores of civilians, including children and elements of paramilitary forces from the provinces of Bukidnon, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan del Norte.
“The AFP has been resorting to such ‘surrender’ ceremonies since the time of the Marcos dictatorship,” pointed out the CPP.
“The military is resorting to fake surrenders and empty declarations amid its gross failure to achieve Oplan Bayanihan’s declared objective in 2011 to render the NPA inconsequential by 2014, and transfer so-called counter-insurgency operations to the police,” said the CPP.
As exposed by a barangay captain (village official) in Paquibato District, Davao City, AFP officials have been doing the rounds of homes and asking people to sign a document that would portray them as “NPA surrenderees”.
“These fake surrenders are also among the biggest sources of corruption as AFP field commanders pocket the reward money allocated for the firearms supposedly turned in,” added the CPP. “Most of the firearms are either the personal property of the so-called surrenderees or recycled by the military from its rust stockpile.”
The CPP further condemned the AFP for abducting a 14-year old child in Magpet, North Cotabato last 24 March and later presenting him as an NPA combatant. The boy, who was abducted by troops of the 57th Infantry Battalion while conducting operations in Barangay Bantak, is a graduating student of the Bangkal Elementary School with complete class records. The military’s sole basis for claiming that he is a child combatant is the boy’s purported ability to sing the NPA anthem and familiarity with the NPA officers in their area. He was later remanded to the local social welfare office.
The CPP also dismissed declarations made by the chief of staff over the weekend that the NPA will be a ‘spent force’ in five years time. “All previous AFP generals, current AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista included, are wont to make declarations of victory beyond their tour of duty because this exempts them from being answerable when their projections fail.”