By CECIL ESTRELLA
Spokesperson, Roslyn “Ka Jean” Pelle Command
NPA Northern Negros
Col. Lactao of the 303rd Brigade (Philippine Army) has stated that the New People’s Army in Northern Negros has been downgraded. He assumed the NPA has weakened in Northern Negros as a result of the intensified military operations involving troops from the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, Scout Ranger Battalion (PA), Regional Mobile Group 6 of the Philippine National Police, the paramilitary CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit), and many others.
Col Lactao is ignorant on the guerrilla principle “ Evade big and strong attacks of the enemy, make the enemy blind and deaf and let him punch the air.”
The people’s army remains intact and no unit of the NPA in Northern Negros was destroyed. Col. Lactao is daydreaming when he said that the NPA has weakened in Northern Negros. He has put himself on the line of dreamers of the 303rd Bde like Col. Alphonsus Crucero of 2001, Col Fajardo of 2007, Brig Gen Gaverza of 2009 and Col Jonas Sumagaysay of 2011 in the island of Negros.
There was no confiscation of a significant number of firearms and the NPA has only a few casualties.
To project a “weakened image” of the NPA, the military has projected several NPA “surrenderees”. The truth is not a single active member of the NPA surrendered. These so called “surrenderees” paraded by the military have long left the revolutionary movement (4-5 years ago) and many others never joined the NPA. They were offered a big amount of money to surrender or pretend to be one. An opportunist few were convinced to become assets in the counter-insurgency campaign of the Phil Army in exchange of money. What is a fact is that these “surrenderees” is a source of corruption inside the Phil Army because only a small amount was given compared to the amount originally promised.
To the surrenderees who have betrayed the revolutionary movement and have become active assets of the enemy in the counter-revolutionary campaign, their protection status as civilians based on the Rules of War has been compromised and they become target of punitive actions by the NPA. It is not true that all surrenderees that are former comrades are target by the NPAs, but only those who commit themselves to betray the revolutionary movement, cooperate with the enemy and are active in spying and running after the revolutionay forces.
There are active assets of the Phil Army that were punished by the NPA like a certain Joseng of Sitio Pantao, Calatrava and Aming Lutrago of Sitio Lacanon of Brgy Libertad, Escalante City. Their status as protected civilians no longer exist when they become active in the counter-revolutionary campaign of the enemy. They never heed the warning of the revolutionary movement.
On the case of Aming Lutrago, a local intel asset of the Phil Army under the guidance of his handler Popoy Ledama was very active in spying reporting the location of the NPA for the strike operations of the Phil Army. He was punished by an NPA team in the first week of December 2011. The Lutrago brothers (Budoc, Vito and Buging) together with Jose Pios has vowed to take revenge. However since they cannot locate the NPA, they instead target civilians they accused as sympathizers of the revolutionary movement. The NPA appeals to them not to continue the anti-NPA activities of their brother and instead live as ordinary civilians so they can be protected in the Laws of War however if they choose to continue attacking the people, they will no longer be treated as civilians and will be targeted by the NPA.
There is also the case of a civilian wrongly accused of the death of Serio Villadar Jr last July 2010 despite the NPA claiming responsibility in the shooting of Villadar when he resisted arrest by an NPA team to bring him to a Peoples Court on the murder case of Qumawas last 2007 in Brgy Libertad, Escalante City. The innocent civilian Richard Dacal-dacal, 37 years old, married and with children and resident of Sitio Dita, Brgy Libertad, Escalante City is presently in jail on the killing of Villadar. Richard Dacal-dacal has no connections whatsoever in the death of Sergio Villadar and it is a clear case of injustice to put him in jail. The NPA was the one responsible in the line of implementing its sworn duty of fulfilling the process of revolutionary justice. The comrades only defended themselves when Villadar resisted arrest and pulled out his 45 caliber pistol to fight.
There are also several policemen in Escalante City whose jobs were affected in the death of PO2 Urbano last November 2010 in Sitio Bug-as, Brgy. Balintawak, Escalante City. The NPA has already admitted responsibility on the death of the said policeman because of his involvement in drug syndicates and on the murder of a businessman in Bacolod City. The NPA and the victims of PO2 Urbano believe that justice can never be served because of his connection to the “higher ups.”
The NPA will continue to fulfill its tasks and obligations as the real army of the oppressed and the exploited people and as a pillar of the Democratic Government of the People that was established in the country sides of Negros.
The conditions in Negros island continues to simmer as a social volcano where injustice is crystal clear and inequality sharpens on the contradictions between the rich landlord-haciendero class and the majority of the poor peasants and farm workers.
Gov Marañon’s Negros First Program does not address the worsening hunger and poverty of the broad masses of Negrosanons. In contrast, many peasants have been dislocated by the cow-sheep project of Marañon. His mining projects will not also benefit the people and the environment. The lives of the people in Sitio Looc in Brgy Old Sagay are at risk because of Marañon’s magnetite mining that is damaging the coastal area and affecting the livelihood of the people in Sitio Looc. The people here are worried but they are afraid because it is a project of Marañon. The bio-fuels project of the governor like jathropa or “kasla” has also affected the food security of the local people dependent on the planting of rice, corn, camote, “balingoy” or cassava, vegetables, etc.
Overall the Negros First Program of Gov Marañon is only for the interests of the big landlords, businessmen (compradors) and bureaucrats in government. The poor majority of the people in Negros cannot expect something essential in the pro-landlord projects of the governor.
The struggle for land cultivation of the peasant and farm workers is a collective and important effort to solve the problem of the crisis of lack of livelihood, and the prevalent poverty and hunger. They are demanding land to grow food as a solution to the present dire situation. Their unity and determination has guaranteed victory to their noble cause.
However the problem of land is tied to the feudal power of the landlords and their monopoly of lands in the countrysides. The revolutionary program of land reform of the revolutionary movement is the sole solution to the land problem of the peasant and farmworkers. The NPA and other revolutionary forces are the reliable partners of the peasants and farm workers in solving the land problem and in the advancement of the revolutionary armed struggle for national freedom and democracy.
The Red fighters in Northern Negros, in the coming 43rd Anniversary of the New Peoples Army pledge to further strengthen their resolve, determination, daringness and courage in advancing the revolutionary armed struggle towards the strategic stalemate in the years to come until total victory is achieved.