June 20, 2017
During his visit to Agusan del Norte last June 17, 2017, the Duterte regime declared that 75% of NPA members are Lumad. Thus, he said, attention should be given to the Lumad to suppress “insurgency” in Caraga, which continue to be the primary problem of the region. He tried to entice the Lumad to surrender with integration into the reactionary army.
The statement is a big lie, deceitful and provokes further attacks against the Lumad people! It is a lie because the Lumad people are a minority in terms of population. They only make up close to 7% of the entire population of Caraga and are concentrated in far flung mountain areas of the region. In addition, the NPA operates in a large section of the mountains, plains, highways, coastal areas and town centers of the region’s five provinces and are the sources of Red fighter recruits. Thus, the Lumad people cannot comprise the larger number of members of the NPA-NEMR.
It is deceptive and provokes further attacks against the Lumad people as it is a component of the psychological operation of the Duterte regime to confuse, divide and pit the Lumad people against each other. The resources within the ancestral lands of the Lumad people are being targeted by imperialists and local ruling classes. This is the reason why it connives to weaken the legitimate struggle of the Lumad people to defend ancestral lands constantly threatened by extensive land grabbing for large scale mining and plantations.
Duterte has offered the lands of Caraga and the entire island of Mindanao, particularly the ancestral lands of the Lumad and Moro people, for the projects and plans of foreign investors. In fact, these projects and plans are connected with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the amplification of the unrest in Marawi City.
Duterte’s statement about the Lumad is clearly a perpetuation of the propaganda and plan of the AFP under the despised Oplan Bayanihan of the US-Aquino regime. It brutally attacks and destroys the unity of Lumad communities in order to annihilate the NPA and the revolutionary movement. It resulted to widespread evacuations like what happened with the Lianga Massacre, last September 1, 2015; indiscriminate bombings near communities and farms, and widespread shooting, killing and arrests of Lumad leaders and activists.
The Duterte regime’s Oplan Kalayaan will again employ the same actions against the revolutionary movement. The “whole of nation initiative” combined with brutal military campaigns, or mobilizing the entire nation to focus on getting the minds, support and mobilizing the people against the revolutionary movement.
It is similar to the “fish and water” method. The people are apparently the water and the NPA, the fish. Poison the water to kill the fish. The enemy have been using violence and deceit to “drain the water.” They are using this action now against the Lumad people.
Aside from combat operations, we expect that the Duterte regime will further intensify COPD and the establishment of detachments in Lumad areas and forcibly recruit the Lumad people to become CAA/ CAFGU. And it will continue to support the paramilitaries among the Lumad, like the Magahat, to terrorize their own tribe. The corrupt Lumad leaders will be used to entice the Lumad people from resisting. This will facilitate the entry of large imperialist mines and oil palm, rubber and banana plantations and others, that destroy the environment, livelihood and lives of the Lumad and the people in the region.
There is no other way then, to free the Lumad people from oppression and exploitation and effectively defend ancestral land, but to join the New People’s Army in armed struggle. The Lumad people must always raise their political consciousness and unity to evade the schemes of the enemy to deceive and divide their ranks.
Love live the fighting Lumad people!
Ka Maria Malaya
NDFP – NEMR