CPP Information Bureau
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas Region (NDFP-EV) said today the deployment of the 82nd Civil Miltary Operations Company to all villages of Tunga, Leyte is fascist, militarist and illegal. "The claim of Lt. Rey Halina, commander of the 82nd CMO Company, that these troops are "peace and development workers" is plain rubbish," said NDFP-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas.
"The armed forces chief, Gen. Eduardo Oban, has acknowledged that Oplan Bayanihan continues the long-time focus on Triad Operations: combat, intelligence and civil-military operations. In short, the 82nd CMO Company is a combat-ready unit foisted on the civilian populace, and engaged in acts of war sugarcoated as "peace and security operations" under Oplan Bayanihan."
With such a development putting civilians at risk, Fr. Salas also assailed the Aquino government and the 8th Infantry Division for violating the human rights pact with the NDFP as well as international humanitarian law.
"The Philippine government and the NDFP have both agreed to respect the rights of civilians in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Moreover, international humanitarian law also prohibits harming or endangering civilians. The troop deployment to Tunga, Leyte is therefore illegal and subject to investigation and sanctions under the terms of the CARHRIHL and international humanitarian law."
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also said human rights violations in Tunga are bound to arise because the decade-long impunity for human rights violations of the 8th ID in Leyte under Oplan Bantay Laya remains unresolved and is now continuing under Oplan Bayanihan.
"We remind the 8th ID that it is still being hounded for the massacre of botanist Leonard Co and his assistants in Leyte. This is on top of other massacres in Kananga and Palo, as well as political killings, bombardment of civilian communities, economic and food blockades, and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In fact, the virtual military occupation of a town is a clear sign that the climate of impunity is alive and well in Leyte."
Fr. Salas called on the people of Tunga and Leyte to resist militarization, adding that militarization will only fuel the revolutionary and militant struggles of the people.
"The people of Tunga and Leyte must unite and resist the fascist and militarist Oplan Bayanihan. The people are becoming ever poorer and hungrier because the Aquino regime seems hell-bent on waging total war, rather than undertaking basic socio-economic reforms and seriously pursuing the peace talks with the NDFP. Military abuses will only inflame the people to wage mass struggles and to unite in alliances to fight for their democratic rights and socio-economic welfare.
"Meanwhile, the New People's Army will surely continue to advance in Leyte and the entire country. In the past decade, the military could not stop the NPA because the area to cover in the countryside is too vast and soldiers could only concentrate on a few particular places. Far more areas are thus left wide open for the NPA, which can trade space for time, and remains flexible and correctly balances expansion and consolidation. The NPA is fighting to raise the level of the people's war and advance to the strategic stalemate in the next five years."