Massive military offensives in Mindanao reveal Noynoy Aquino’s contempt for the peace process

By JORGE "Ka Oris" MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP – Mindanao

All the four divisions under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) based in Mindanao are currently conducting massive and widespread military operations against the revolutionary forces in all the five New People's Army (NPA) regions in the whole island, particularly more intense in the Southern Mindanao Region. These began prior and during the inauguration of Noynoy Aquino, and continued before, during and after Noynoy Aquino's SONA, and still escalating almost without let-up and without rest of troops in between operations.

Most recently, almost 30 of the more than 40 AFP battalions together with para-military units in Mindanao are simultaneously scouring suspected NPA guerilla bases and zones, seeking encounters with NPA forces in all the 5 NPA regions in the island. They are employing 105mm Howitzer cannons, reconnaissance and bomber planes. As expected, instead of hitting NPA units, it is the Lumad and peasant communities that are terrorized by these AFP offensives, committing human rights violations and causing dislocation to the population. With these military operations raging in Mindanao and probably across the archipelago, the Aquino administration has reared its ugly head; it has unruffled its feathers to show its true fascist character.

On top of the US-Aquino regime's priority is to consolidate its grip on and strengthen the AFP whose badly beaten OBL needs some major adjustment and morale boosting by increasing its budget and personnel, and upgrading its weapons and equipment. The regime highlights military concern at the expense of most needed funds for genuine agrarian reform and social services.

Only into the second month of his rule, Mr. Aquino shows that he has sharper fangs than his predecessor, and seems intent on surpassing the brutality of the failed Oplan Bantay Laya, following to the letter the US Counter-insurgency manual where military options are given priority over peace talks. This is a clear gesture of gratitude for being a US-anointed president who won through a pre-programmed automated election system.

The Aquino regime, on the one hand, offers talks of peace, but on the other, it is unleashing its mercenary AFP against the revolutionary forces without even waiting to see the results of its SONA rhetorical peace overtures. This early, it appears that the Aquino regime is not serious in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. He is no better than all of his predecessors including his mother, Cory, who have shown some token interest for peace talks then by releasing political prisoners, and temporarily suspending offensive military operations. By letting loose the AFP immediately even before formally assuming office, he could yet be the most rabid warmonger GRP president, second only to the dictator Marcos.

On the other hand, his secretary for the peace process, Ding Deles, sends the wrong signal by hinting in giving priority to local peace talks and less importance to top level panel-to-panel peace talks, thus effectively sabotaging all previous GRP-NDFP signed peace agreements. The US-Aquino regime proposes for an indefinite ceasefire as a pre-condition for the peace talks, an issue which has long been resolved under previous signed GRP-NDFP peace agreements.

With regard to the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), we cannot be led to believe that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under Mr. Aquino is sincere enough in respecting the right to self-determination of the Moro people now that it has allowed to continue US economic interest and military intervention in the country, particularly in Mindanao.

The Filipino people must not be deceived by this despicable dual character of Mr. Aquino, where he plays the meek and mild hero on one side and the sinister fascist on the other, with the latter gradually becoming more obvious. Indeed the countryside is teeming with "amoy pulbora" because the new GRP president feigns being deaf on the aspiration of the people for peace that is based on social justice. He prefers to follow the US manual on counter insurgency, and swallow hook-line-and-sinker the advice of his new AFP Chief of Staff , Lt. Gen. Ricardo David, who once again day dreams to wipe out the NPA in three years.

The revolutionary forces in Mindanao and the whole country have frustrated the 9 years brutal OBL of the US-Arroyo regime and the "counter-insurgency" campaigns of all the previous regimes. The supposed three-year target of the new regime to dismantle the NPA will surely be met by an ever intensifying resistance of the people's war nationwide. In fact the current AFP offensives in Mindanao are met with a number of NPA annihilative tactical offensives in combination with widespread attritive military actions in the island.

The NDFP-Mindanao urges the Filipino people to remain critical of the Aquino government, to not be clouded by the continuing euphoria hogging the limelight and see the Aquino government for what it actually is: nothing more but another reactionary, fascist, and puppet regime, that is bent on taxing the people more, protecting the interest of the big landlords to which Mr. Aquino belongs and the interest of the big businesses of the compradors and his imperialist masters.

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