By KARLOS MANUEL
Spokesperson, NPA Efren Martires Command
NPA Eastern Visayas Regional Operations Command
The Efren Martires Command (EMC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas (EV) commends all the Red commanders and fighters in the region for their heroic efforts in the past two years. The US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan is a dismal failure based on the two-year assessment (July 2012-July 2014) of the Regional Operations Command. But the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is daydreaming that it can reduce the NPA in the region to inconsequence by 2016 and turn over “counterinsurgency” operations to the Philippine National Police.
It is more likely that Aquino will be booted from power and his fascist troops will be following in his downfall.
With the region as one of its national priorities since 2012, the US-Aquino regime stepped up its “peace and development team” (PDT) operations, combat operations and the “convergence approach” that used various government agencies to deceive the people. The Regional Operations Command estimates the 8th Infantry Division (8th ID) launched as many as 10,000 combat operations up to division level. The PDT operations also covered 48 towns and 136 barangays (villages) in Samar and Leyte. The 8th ID concentrates its attacks on the “triboundary” area in Samar where the three provinces meet and where it believes the guerrilla bases are strongest. The 8th ID’s priority areas include Northern Samar, Western Samar and Northern Leyte.
But the 8th ID paid dearly for its Oplan Bayanihan in EV, suffering a total of 341 casualties: 255 killed in action and 86 wounded in action. The enemy casualties are a far cry from the NPA losses of 14 killed in action, eight wounded in action, and 18 captured by the enemy.
The 8th ID is striving to pit one battalion per guerrilla front, but its forces are too overstretched. While it may be able to concentrate on 10% of an area at a given time, the NPA is still free to move in 90%. The 8th ID also cannot cover up the failure of the reactionary government to deliver basic services through its “bayanihan activities” such as medical and dental missions, tree planting, and other such tokenisms. The 803rd Infantry Brigade carried out 52 such activities, the 87th IB 20 more, and the 19th IB in one year 80 such activities. The human rights violations that arise from militarization furthermore highlight the anti-people character of Oplan Bayanihan.
The US-Aquino regime also cannot continue deceiving the people with its “convergence approach” or the mobilization of other government agencies for “counterinsurgency.” This comprises the pouring of billions of pesos into projects in areas deemed as guerrilla bases, including various construction projects. These include the ₱470 million projects on Samar island by the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA that targets the mass base of the NPA, and under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. There are also the ₱12 billion Regional Peace and Order Council road projects, the 14 tourism projects worth ₱888.8 million, and the ₱1.6 billion Samar Pacific Coastal Road and ₱900 billion Samar Peace and Prosperity Road (both in Northern Samar). The biggest project remains the $357.15 million of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, mainly road projects.
But such projects by the US-Aquino regime do not solve the fundamental problems of the people and serve only to line the pockets of corrupt civilian and military officials. The region is now the second poorest in the country. Millions of Yolanda survivors and the rest of the people in the region suffer from government neglect, landlessness, lack of social services, rising prices of basic commodities, militarization and other burdens.
The NPA is thus poised to intensify tactical offensives in the region to ensure the defeat of Oplan Bayanihan and to support the people’s struggle to overthrow the regime. It is the responsibility of the NPA in the region to participate in the national effort to intensify guerrilla warfare and advance the people’s war to the strategic stalemate from the strategic defensive. This will contribute to the political climate favorable for the overthrow of the US-Aquino regime. It is also the duty of the NPA in the region to support our comrades in Mindanao by tying down the AFP troops and preventing their deployment to that island, the current target of all-out offensive by the regime. By intensifying guerrilla warfare, the reactionary government will also be forced to return to the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
All NPA forces in the region are abiding by the national directive of the Communist Party of the Philippines to carry out tactical offensives in the remaining months of the year. We will strive for tactical offensives that are annihilative, confiscate arms and with political impact. We will combine these with attritive actions such as sniping and the punishment of enemy spies.
While we are carrying out tactical offensives, we will pay attention to related work to widen and consolidate our guerrilla bases and zones, strengthening the mass organizations and organs of political power, advancing the agrarian revolution and launching mass struggles.
By advancing the armed struggle, the people can best express their outrage through the principal form of struggle against the puppet, oppressive, corrupt and brutal US-Aquino regime. Thus, the Efren Martires Command is ready to carry out its mission as the main weapon of the people for national and social liberation!