By MAGNO UDYAW
Spokesperson, NPA Leonardo Pacsi Command
NPA Mountain Province Provincial Operations Command
The people of Sagada successfully ejected again troops of the Provincial Public Safety Battalion (PPSC) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) after the PPSC attacked a wide area of Sagada this June. This follows the earlier banishment of the operating troops of the 50th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) and the PPSC of the PNP from the northern barrios of Sagada last April.
The said military operations are proof once more that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP will never and has never acknowledged and respected the “peace zone” the local government unit of Sagada has been pushing for. It is worth underscoring that a Sagada native (Col. Julio Lizardo, the Provincial Assistant Chief for Operations of PNP-Mountain Province) even personally spearheaded the latest combat operation of the PNP in the area.
The proposed “peace zone” of Sagada has not been recognized by successive regimes ever since it was conceptualized under the first US-Aquino regime in 1988. All the more was it not recognized when the Oplan Bayanihan of the AFP took off under the present US-BSAquino regime where the fascist troops and the regime are desperate to go after and weaken the New People’s Army and the entire revolutionary movement before the end of the BS Aquino term.
The latest PPSC military operations started 19 June 2014. After combing the mountains and forest at the boundary of Sagada, Besao and Tadian, the troops settled at Sitio Bitin of barangay (village) Ambasing and at Sakang above barangay Demang. The two said barangays are adjacent to the center of Sagada. The places where the troops went are destinations frequented by tourists going to Sagada. They also went around the vegetable production areas of Ampacao and Lake Danum. This operation brought nothing but fear and great distress to tourists and people of Sagada especially among the gardeners in Ampacao and Lake Danum.
But rising above the situation, the people of Sagada showed once more their great determination to stop any plunder by the fascist troops of their area. The Demang as well as the Ambasing communities immediately convened and then confronted the operating troops in their area to tell them to leave the boundaries of their barangays. What the people of Demang and Ambasing did was correct and should be emulated because they asserted their right not to allow the operating troops to detach in and ransack their communities. The people of Sagada have plenty of bitter memories of militarization by AFP and PNP troops, like misery alone come from them because of their gross disregard of the people’s culture, economic activities and human rights.
Related to these military operations are the continuing arrogant efforts of imperialists and the local ruling classes to push for destructive mining and energy projects in the Cordillera. This, especially under the policies of the BS Aquino regime to sell the patrimony of the country to foreign capitalist by signing the new Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and by pushing for Charter Change or change in the provisions of the Philippine Constitution to allow imperialists and foreign capitalists free pass in acquiring and exploiting the natural resources of the country as well as giving further control to them the big industries and businesses of the nation. Together with these are the worsening fascist attacks of reactionary troops of the state of national minorities or indigenous peoples, farmers and other people who are defending their ancestral lands, agricultural lands and communities.
In the face of continuing aggression by imperialists and the local ruling classes, it is but right that the people of Sagada and other parts of Mountain Province remain vigilant and militant in order to contest any attempts of the ruling class to usurp and exploit the natural resources owned and protected by the people, as well as to expose and fight the deceptions and fascist attacks of the AFP and the PNP.