By KARLOS MANUEL
Spokesperson, Efren Martires Command
NPA Eastern Visayas
The Efren Martires Command of the New People’s Army-Eastern Visayas today called 8th Infantry Division chief Gen. Mario Chan as daydreaming of an “insurgency-free” region while the NPA in fact is gaining hundreds of new supporters despite Oplan Bayanihan’s offensive.
“Phony press releases do not win a war; it is the people’s support that is decisive,” said Ka Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson.
“In Leyte alone, which the 8th ID proclaimed as “insurgency-free” in December, the NPA organized at least 500 new revolutionary mass activists of peasants, women and youth in three months even as Oplan Bayanihan began its rampage. The NPA was also able to reach more barrios than ever in Leyte. The revolutionary mass organizations of peasants, women and youth constitute the mass base of the people’s democratic government. They support the armed struggle and from their ranks the the best sons and daughters of the people are recruited into the NPA.
“The 8th ID may connive with local officials for a semblance of support, but its troops could not sway the people. For example, soldiers even threw a lechon party and held basketball tournaments just to pad attendance to its meetings in some villages in Leyte. Likewise, the Efren Martires Command is confident of defeating Oplan Bayanihan and of gaining strength in Samar, where the revolutionary movement has been deeply rooted among the people far longer than in Leyte. ”
Manuel also accused Gen. Chan of twisting facts to make it appear the NPA is causing a reign of terror in Matuguinao town in Western Samar. “The NPA respects and observes human rights and international humanitarian law in giving the highest concern for civilian lives. The NPA has nothing to do with the suspension of classes in five elementary schools in Matuguinao as well as the harassment of local officials.
“On the other hand, the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan shows the continuing climate of impunity for human rights and international humanitarian law under the Aquino regime. For example, the 8th ID troops routinely base in civilian communities and camp out in civilian buildings such as schools, health centers and barangay centers.
“It should also be noted the 8th ID will be basing a battalion, the 14th Infantry Battalion, in Matuguinao which is a tiny town of some 5,000 residents. Now, who is the one looking to strike fear in the hearts of the people with overwhelming military presence?”
Meanwhile, the EMC spokesperson also ridiculed Lt. Col. Niceforo Diaz, civil-military operations chief of the 8th ID, for assailing the NPA offensive on 20 December in Las Navas, Northern Samar.
“The NPA is thankful that Col. Diaz opened his mouth and removed all doubt that he is a fool. Let us state the facts: The Aquino government declared a unilateral ceasefire from 16 Dec. to 02 Jan. This was reciprocated by the NPA which declared a unilateral ceasefire from 24-26 Dec. and 31 Dec. to 02 Jan.
“But the 34th Infantry Battalion troops were still on military operations on 20 Dec., which is why the NPA was able to ambush them, as the NPA ceasefire had yet to begin.
The 34th IB troops were therefore violating the Aquino government’s own ceasefire declaration, while the NPA offensive was entirely legitimate, not only because there was no NPA ceasefire yet but also as a punishment of the Aquino government troops who could not keep their own word.”