On the diatriabe of the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum

Open Letter by NDFP-EV to the people on the Diatribes of the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum

Fr. SANTIAGO "Sanny" SALAS
Spokesperson, NDFP-Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas would like to answer the "Statement of condemnation of the inhuman killing of the eight police officers and barangay councilman" by the Northern Samar Peace and Development Forum dated 21 August. The statement was allegedly issued on the day of the tactical offensive by the New People's Army in Catarman, but came to light suspiciously only recently.

The NSPDF statement maliciously makes it appear that human rights violations were committed by the New People's Army in its 21 August tactical offensive against the Philippine National Police in Brgy. Imelda, Catarman, Northern Samar.

As the NPA's Rodante Urtal Command has already clarified, T/Sgt. Rolando de Guia was punished for being a military intelligence handler of the 63rd Infantry Battalion, acting under cover as a village councilor of Brgy. Imelda. Moreover, the eight PNP elements who were killed in action were legitimate targets of the NPA. The entire operation against De Guia and the PNP was therefore a legitimate act of war. The NPA has also asserted its firm adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law.

It is thus sheer hypocrisy and manipulation for the NSPDF to pontificate about the NPA's taking away the right to life of the casualties. That is certainly ridiculous, because were not De Guia and the policemen clearly combatants in the armed services of the state, who themselves were ready and authorized to take away the right to life of enemies of the state such as the NPA?

We also remind NSPDF that as far as respecting the right to life is concerned, the Philippine government remains a pariah in the international community for more than 1,200 unsolved political killings under Oplan Bantay Laya (government's national security program) since 2001. The silence of the Aquino regime on bringing Gloria Arroyo to account for these crimes becomes all the more damning because these continue: at least 12 political killings have been committed by state security forces even before Aquino's one hundred days in office.

The NSPDF also grossly distorts the facts in misrepresenting that the heavily-armed policemen were not combat-ready but only on police investigation, as if even that would not make them legitimate targets as members of the armed services. Much more maliciously, the NSPDF claims the NPA finished off the policemen by shooting them in the head and burning their vehicle. But despite the serious allegation, no credible evidence, or even a formal complaint whether to reactionary or revolutionary authorities, have been presented more than a month after the incident.

The NSPDF statement feigns concern for human rights, but its contents reveal gross distortions, manipulations, and lies that all amount to similar fascist diatribes by the military against the revolutionary movement. It raises questions, such as what is NSPDF, and who benefits from this fascist statement pretending to avow human rights?

To the knowledge of the NDFP-EV, the NSPDF is a hollow organization but claims to represent, as per its statement, the Church, government, academe, civil society and youth in Northern Samar. In reality, the NSPDF is a puppet organization being manipulated behind the scenes by reactionary government officials and the military in the province to present a pro-fascist united front.

They use the NSPDF for parallel political maneuvers in support of the "counter-insurgency" program Oplan Bantay Laya and other reactionary government projects.

They have even duped the Church and other members of the community into supporting the NSPDF. The military in fact gave away its leading role in NSPDF in 2009, when it denied responsibility for the assassination of political activist Fr. Cecilio Lucero, and insisted Fr. Lucero supported the military because he participated in the NSPDF. But it is also known Fr. Lucero had distanced himself from NSPDF upon knowing its reactionary nature, refused to cooperate with the military, and was actually investigating human rights violations by the 63rd Infantry Battalion in Catubig, Northern Samar when he was killed.

The latest diatribes by the NSPDF are not for genuine peace and development and thus do not benefit the people.

Such a statement intends to obscure the observance of human rights and international humanitarian law in the armed conflict, by disparaging the NPA while ignoring the decade-long impunity of Oplan Bantay Laya. By doing so, the NSPDF also helps to justify the government's escalation of human rights violations, as is being done by the Aquino regime in pursuing Oplan Bantay Laya until January 2011, and in planning to supplant it with a new scheme based on the 2009 US Counter-insurgency Guide. Thus, the NSPDF plays a part in sugarcoating "counter-insurgency": massive psywar deception going with brutal military suppression.

We appeal to the Catholic Church and other sectors in Northern Samar: Listen to the sufferings of the people under Oplan Bantay Laya and discern the preponderant influence of the reactionary politicians and the military in the NSPDF.

Such an organization only deceives and isolates the Catholic Church and other sectors from the masses of the people. This can only lead to unwitting participation in spreading government-instigated fear and violence among the people because of Oplan Bantay Laya and whatever new "counter-insurgency" scheme of the Aquino regime.

Let us not be like sheep lying down with wolves; let us reject NSPDF now, and oppose Oplan Bantay Laya and the US Counter-insurgency Guide. Instead, let us support the people in genuine struggle for human rights, justice, peace, democracy and national sovereignty.

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