By CPP Information Bureau
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas (NDFP-EV) today said the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is sabotaging the efforts for a just and lasting peace by covering up its human rights violations and threatening progressive activists.
"The 8th ID recently violated international humanitarian law twice," said NDFP-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. "First, its 14th Infantry Battalion harassed two minors in a military operation at Brgy. Huknan, Giporlos, Eastern Samar. Second, the Civil-Military Operations Battalion of the 8th ID accused human rights group Katungod as a 'communist front' for exposing the earlier violation and many more previously. In both instances, the military is clearly threatening civilians not involved in the armed conflict, which is prohibited under international humanitarian law."
Fr. Salas also expressed concern the 8th ID's Red-baiting of progressive activists may presage a new wave of political killings.
"The public and the media are well aware that the Government of the Philippines is being held accountable for more than 1,000 political killings. In fact, there are already 41 political killings after less than one year of the Aquino regime. Such political killings have been universally condemned for victimizing progressive activists, civilians who are not at all involved in armed hostilities between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
"By accusing Katungod as a 'communist front', the 8th ID is justifying armed hostility such as the infamous political killings committed by state security forces. If the progressive activists in Eastern Visayas are attacked, the 8th ID will be surely responsible from the very start."
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also deplored that the 8th ID's fascist deeds reflect the opposition to peace of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its Oplan Bayanihan.
"While the GPH and the NDFP are striving to continue the long-delayed peace talks, the 8th ID relentlessly pursues brutal military operations in the countryside, even during the GPH's past two ceasefire declarations. The 8th ID has the effrontery to call these terroristic attacks in the countryside against the guerrilla fronts as "peace intiatives."
"In actively implementing Oplan Bayanihan, the 8th ID and the AFP are hewing to the US Counter-insurgency Guide that seeks to preserve US imperialism and suppress those who advocate national freedom and democracy. It is therefore clear that the 8th ID and the AFP are not interested in a just and lasting peace, but in continuing the impunity of their fascist terrorism."
Fr. Salas called for unity against the fascist forces who are working against peace.
"We should not allow the matter of peace to be left to the discretion of the fascist generals who have enjoyed impunity for too long. Those of us in the media should be critical, discerning and questioning of the fascist pronouncements of the 8th ID that are against peace and justify fascist terrorism such as political killings. The people must also persevere in their mass struggles for their nationalist and democratic interests.
"We must all remain patient and united in fighting for a just and lasting peace. The root causes of the country's political and economic problems such as landlessness, joblessness and poverty are centuries old. These are not easily solved, especially with fascist die-hards sabotaging every step forward of the peace process."