Philippine Army troops are violating the ceasefire

By MARIA MALAYA
Spokesperson, NDFP Northeastern Mindanao Region

Troops from the 4th Infantry Division (Philippine Army) conducting military operations in the villages of Claver and Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte did not leave and return to their barracks. In Brgy. Sapa in Claver, and in Brgys. Lahi and Camam-onan in Gigaquit, military troops remain and are currently staying at the barangay halls.

Troops carrying out military operation are from the 30th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), 26th IBPA, 75th IBPA, and other troops that have not been unidentified.

The military operations started last 12 January 2011. On 31 January, two soldiers from the 29th IB PA were killed by a sniper's fire from the New People's Army. Military troops pursuing the NPA clashed with each other resulting to more military casualties.

This military operation aggravated the destitution of the farmers burdened by hardships brought about by the floods and continuous rain. The farmers are mired in poverty and are being harassed during military operations and their human rights violated.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (AFP/PNP) are frauds. They are the violators, but the AFP spokesperson constantly proclaim that the NPA are violating the ceasefire when it launched an ambush in barangay Libaylibay, Mabini, Davao del Norte, last 12 February 2011.

How can it be covered by the ceasefire when the ceasefire started just last 15 February 2011? In the earlier Christmas 2010 ceasefire, the AFP also accused the NPA in Samar of violating the ceasefire by the successful 14 December 2010 ambush, even when the ceasefire started only on 16 December.

More than ever, the AFP/PNP forces are claiming that they are “peace and development” forces. A corrupt army can never bring about development. The budget intended for development are being pocketed amongst themselves.

What have the officials of the 401st Brigade (AFP) been doing with the allowances or salaries of the paramilitary Civilian Armed Auxilliaries / Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) which usually takes three months to be released because it has been invested by the officials, and are being apportioned for different reasons?

What happened to their PhP 1.5 million funds for the construction of the road in barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur which they said were for development as the lumad-farmers use the road to transport their products? The roads were merely bulldozed, using machineries of private companies for free. Who pocketed the budget of said road when it was the 401st Brigade and 58th IBPA forces that implemented the project?

It is not surprising that billions of pesos of AFP funds have been stolen by their own officials. The AFP/PNP are not free from bureaucrat capitalism, which is one of the three basic problems of our country. Bureaucrat capitalism inside the AFP/PNP is the use of military/police funds for the personal gains of the officials to enrich themselves while thousands of families of soldiers experience difficulties in merely claiming the benefits of the ordinary soldier killed in action, lack of budget for the basic needs of the soldiers and other financial anomalies inside the AFP/PNP.

The massive corruption inside the AFP/PNP can never be resolved. This can only be resolved upon their dissolution and replacement by the true soldiers of the people which is the New People's Army. It will always fail to defend and respect human rights. Moreover, they will not be able to observe their own ceasefire declaration. The violations of the AFP/PNP are being concealed by the constant pronouncement of violations done by the NPA even if said events are not covered by the ceasefire.

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