Fr. SANTIAGO SALAS
Spokesperson, NDFP Eastern Visayas Chapter
In the past two months, the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has been hastening its counterrevolutionary attacks on the people. It is carrying out widespread and intense military operations on Samar, while also hyping civil-military operations and psywar throughout the region. This reflects the Aquino regime’s use of its initial popularity in pursuing its counterrevolutionary objectives. But that popularity is fast waning precisely because of the 8th ID’s militarization, a continuation of the fascist repression of the past ten years under Oplan Bantay Laya.
The new Aquino regime had promised changes for the better. But such reformist illusions of hope have been dashed to pieces as the regime’s deception and militarism are bared. Political repression is widespread in rural and urban areas. Entire communities in the countryside are being garrisoned by Aquino’s troops with artillery planted in the midst of civilians.
Soldiers terrorize men, women and children with indiscriminate killings, torture, robbery, destruction of property and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In urban areas, soldiers enter schools and communities, feigning to help the people but threatening them against asserting their democratic rights.
The 8th ID is thus on a rampage of militarization while strenuously lying that it is doing so.
It has been ordered by the Aquino regime to crush the revolutionary movement in three years, by continuing Oplan Bantay Laya (national security program) till yearend and then pursuing a new “internal security operational plan”.
It is also emboldened by US support of Aquino’s “counterinsurgency” program, specifically by the more than $200 million assistance by the Millenium Challenge Corporation that will bolster its war. The 8th ID is also rushing to put down the resistance of the people against large-scale foreign mining operations and other pro-imperialist and big business schemes in the region.
Attempting to camouflage its bloody image, the 8th ID tries to fool the people with civil-military operations and psywar, such as in paying lip service to human rights and in vilifying the revolutionary movement.
The 8th ID cannot deny its militarization while the people keep on exposing its mounting human rights violations. Through persevering and fearless militant struggle, the people will certainly defeat the Aquino regime’s fascist repression and bogus reforms. They must unite against the US-engineered militarism of the Aquino regime. They must expose and oppose the MCC assistance, the conditional cash transfer scheme, “sustainable mining” and other deceits and mockeries of development. They must press for the resumption of peace talks to discuss basic socio-economic reforms and other just and lasting solutions to the civil war. The people must struggle and demand for answers to widespread hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas.
The New People’s Army will also intensify tactical offensives to defeat the 8th ID’s fascist military operations and punish the Aquino regime. The NPA’s tactical offensives will surely increase and become increasingly bigger in confronting the Aquino regime and advancing the people’s war towards the overthrow of the reactionary ruling system.
The 8th ID’s militarization signifies darker days of political repression ahead. In the face of the looming darkness, we call on the people that there is no other way but revolutionary and militant struggle to answer the Aquino regime’s deception and militarism.