28 October 2009

Military supremacy leading to human rights violations and electioneering in Eastern Visayas



­PRESS RELEASE
October 28, 2009
­
Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas charged the 8th Infantry Division today of pushing its Oplan Bantay Laya campaign by intimidating the public and dominating the civilian government in the region. “The military is intimidating the public by coming out with an order of battle or liquidation list, and then going into schools and communities to conduct witch hunts and commit other human rights violations,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “What's more, the military dominates the regional and provincial peace and order councils to bully the civilian government and other institutions into supporting Oplan Bantay Laya despite many complaints of human rights violations. All these show widespread political repression to shore up Oplan Bantay Laya and entrench the Arroyo government beyond 2010.”

Fr. Salas noted the recently exposed order of battle in Northern Samar and the plight of the University of Eastern Philippines, as well as that of various communities in Gen. MacArthur, Eastern Samar. “The 803rd Infantry Brigade, as it admits in a recent statement, summoned and confronted UEP school officials and student leaders last Aug. 20 to conduct a witch hunt against government critics. The brigade is also pressing for a military detachment in the campus, which has several civilian communities. The 8th ID repeats this witch hunting in various secondary schools as well as in colleges and universities regionwide. Moreover, aside from defending the military's order of battle, the 803rd Ibde is setting the stage for more political killings by linking the leaders and members of Karapatan and other unarmed and peaceful organizations to the armed revolutionary movement. Many victims of political killings, such as Fr. Cecilio Lucero, were first demonized as supporters of the New People's Army before being murdered by the military's death squads.

“Meanwhile, in Gen. MacArthur, despite being confronted by 600 people in a dialogue attended by several communities, the 14th Infantry Battalion arrogantly refused to be held accountable for various human rights abuses, as well as sign a memorandum of agreement to end such violations. The villagers complain also that the soldiers do not inform civilian officials of their presence, and also pretend to be members of the NPA while abusing the people. These complaints are likewise true in other areas where there are military operations.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that the military is also asserting itself over the civilian government, and oblige the latter to bolster Oplan Bantay Laya rather than truly address the people's needs and grievances. “Gen. Arthur Tabaquero manipulates civilian officials in the regional and provincial peace and order councils to support the military. He also applauds those who support the Social Integration Program for NPA surrenderees, which has actually been for a long time a conduit for corruption by military and civilian officials. But the real problems of the people are widespread human rights violations, hunger and poverty. The peace and order councils turn a blind eye to the people's plight and go along with the military's abuses that worsen the people's suffering under the present socio-economic crisis.

“If the civilian officials think that they benefit from being in the military's good graces, they should beware. The military resorts to vicious machinations in local politics to push Oplan Bantay Laya. In a stark example, the NDF-EV is aware that the military was behind the assassination last July 16 of Mayor Carlos de la Cruz of Matuguinao, Western Samar. The military was furious with De la Cruz because he refused their demands to stop his constituents from actively trooping to the media and exposing human rights violations by government forces. To add insult to injury, the military hypocritically uses the De la Cruz murder to strengthen its influence over the peace and order councils by using the issue of election-related violence. Such maneuvering of the military for supremacy over the civilian government was echoed in Congress last September by Gen. Jovito Palparan. The former 8th ID chief and now Bantay party-list representative met strong opposition when he called for military control of Calbayog City during the 2010 election because of alleged political violence.”

Fr. Salas warned that the 8th ID will be increasingly desperate and emboldened to intimidate the people and even the political candidates as the 2010 election and Oplan Bantay Laya's deadline loom. “The NPA has been carrying out more and more offensives since 2007, and it is clear even this early that the 8th ID is unable to stop this and will not be able to declare Oplan Bantay Laya a success in 2010. But the Arroyo government rabidly pursues the military solution by extending the war even against civilians. The people must thus continue to unite, organize and mobilize against political killings and other acts of fascist state terrorism. Furthermore, they can use their votes to withdraw support from politicians who go along with the military's abuses, and turn instead to those who can really address the present problems of poverty, hunger and repression. While the people can gainfully use the ballot and other means of parliamentary struggle, the increasingly vicious oppression by the military convinces even many more of the armed struggle as the principal form of struggle towards ending not only the Arroyo regime but the ruling system itself.”#

Erratum



In the Oct. 17 people's war bulletin by the Efren Martires Command, it was erroneously reported that a tactical offensive occurred last Oct. 2 in Pagsangjan, Western Samar. The tactical offensive referred to is actually that in Sta. Margarita, Western Samar last Oct. 1 as mentioned in the same statement. Sorry for the oversight.

NDF-EV Media Office

21 October 2009

NDF-EV on Leyte Landing commemoration: Honor the Filipino resistance movement, not the return of US imperialism



PRESS RELEASE
October 20,2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of Philippines
Eastern Visayas


The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today remarked that the Oct. 20 Leyte Landing commemoration does not do justice to the Filipino guerrillas of World War II and instead gives undue importance to the return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and US imperialism. “The big politicians like Gloria Arroyo and others in the region give only token recognition to the Filipino guerrillas, while lavishing attention on the US,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The patriotic Filipino guerrillas proved that the people can successfully wage armed resistance against a foreign invader. Unfortunately, the armed struggle against the Japanese Occupation did not develop into a war for national liberation against the US reoccupation and neocolonialism. Today, the real heroes who were the Filipino guerrillas are not genuinely honored but play second fiddle to the US. The Arroyo regime preserves the colonial mentality that liberation is a reward by a foreign country, and toasts the US though it was in fact returning to its economic, political and military interests in the Philippines.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that the US continues to further its interests by taking advantage of the country's backwardness and the servility of the Arroyo regime. “The US intends to set up permanent military bases in the country and intensify its military intervention against the Philippine revolution. This was made clear to the people of Eastern Visayas by the secretive holding of Balikatan joint exercises in Samar last August by the 8th Infantry Division and the US Special Forces. There are already indications that the US military may be joining combat operations with Arroyo government forces through the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in Mindanao. Thus, while the US military may have gotten media attention for joing the relief operations for victims of recent typhoons in Luzon, its real and long-term intervention in the country is far more selfish, anti-people and violates the national sovereignty.”

Fr. Salas said that the Leyte Landing commemoration will become irrelevant in the future because there are new guerrillas who are continuing the Filipino armed resistance. “Liberation is not something given by a foreign country, because it is the people who must set their own selves free. For more than a hundred years guerrillas have been thriving in Eastern Visayas, from those who fought in the Balangiga Uprising to the anti-Japanese resistance to the New People's Army of today. The day will come when there will be no longer praises for a foreign country here, but for our own courage and determination to have a country that is free from foreign intervention and truly sovereign and self-reliant. Let us resist the US military interventionists who are the foreign invaders of today, let us support the New People's Army in fighting for our country and for democracy.”#

19 October 2009

Persevere in the struggle for justice for Fr. Lucero and all victims of fascist state terrorism in Northern Samar



PRESS RELEASE
October 19, 2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today expressed support for a recent national fact-finding mission of various sectors and the Catholic Church that accused the military of involvement in the Sept. 6 murder of human rights advocate Fr. Cecilio Lucero in Northern Samar. “We respect the national fact-finding mission for standing up and denouncing the reign of terror by the military in Northern Samar that claimed Fr. Lucero's life,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “Their investigation and demand for justice stand out against the insincere efforts of the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Human Rights. At the same time, we denounce the 8th Infantry Division for harming the national fact-finding mission, especially in the abduction and enforced disappearance of Ruth Gecaro by suspected 63rd IB elements in Catubig, Northern Samar last Oct. 5. Gecaro was participating in the mission and was supposed to bring victims of human rights violations in Lope de Vega town.”

Fr. Salas also charged the ongoing investigation of the PNP's Task Force Lucero of being “a farce and covering up for the 8th ID”, and asserted that the PNP may have a hand in the killing. “The PNP is acting like an intriguer rather than as an investigator, by straining to pin the killing on the New People's Army or the political opponents of Fr. Lucero's brothers. But the PNP knew very well that Fr. Lucero's life was in danger because of death threats stemming from the military, and had in fact assigned a police escort for him. Why then is the PNP evading investigation of the 8th ID? How come also that Fr. Lucero's police escort, PO2 Eugene Bation, emerged unscathed from the ambush and the nearest police station responded only one hour later even though it was merely a minute away?”

The NDF-EV spokesperson likewise scored the Commission on Human Rights for its “bureacratic pettiness and obliviousness” in the midst of the people's suffering. “The CHR looks away while Fr. Lucero's killing cries out to be solved, and while people in Northern Samar are being killed, tortured or abducted. Worse, its regional director, Paquito Nacino, appears to be a callous bureaucrat and an apologist for the 8th ID in ignoring the human rights violations in Northern Samar and diverting to nonsensically charging the NPA with using minors. The CHR seems to be more concerned with helping the 8th ID wash its hands in public than in addressing real human rights concerns.”

Fr. Salas added that the 8th ID's Oplan Bantay Laya campaign remains paramount for the Arroyo government despite the increasing number of civilian victims and increasing losses to the NPA. “The 8th ID is oppressing the people rather than defeating the NPA. More ominously, the Oplan Bantay Laya campaign seeks to perpetuate the Arroyo regime by persecuting government opponents. The national fact-finding mission revealed that it even obtained evidence of the 8th ID's “order of battle” or liquidation list, which actually targets activist and progressive party-list organizations. Included in the list were Dr. Bartolome Resuello and Fr. Cecilio Lucero, who both became victims of political killings. The 8th ID is also harassing activists at the University of Eastern Philippines and is pushing to set up a military detachment in the campus.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson called on the people to unite and stand up to Oplan Bantay Laya. “There will be no end to the political killings and other human rights violations as long as Oplan Bantay Laya continues. The 8th ID should be held responsible for the murder of Fr. Lucero and other victims of fascist state terrorism. A broad movement for justice for Fr. Lucero and all victims of human rights violations in Northern Samar can bring together various sectors and institutions against the 8th ID's reign of terror in the province. The struggle for justice for Fr. Lucero is also a struggle as well to end and bring to account the Arroyo regime for gross and widespread human rights violations, corruption and puppetry. Meanwhile, the revolutionary movement will continue to increase guerrilla offensives to punish the human rights violators and to further weaken and oust the despised Arroyo regime.”#

17 October 2009

Four successful tactical offensives in Eastern Visayas in first two weeks of October


People's War Bulletin

October 17, 2009

Ka Karlos Manuel, Spokesperson
Efren Martires Command
New People's Army-Eastern Visayas

The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army in Eastern Visayas reports that there were four successful tactical offensives in the first two weeks of October.

On October 1 at 10 a.m., Red fighters of the Serafin Pasimos Command ambushed 23 troops of the 63rd IB in Brgy. Ligaya, Matuguinao, Western Samar. The armed engagement lasted for about 10 minutes. At least two soldiers were killed and another wounded, while there no casualties on the NPA's side. The Red fighters confiscated one M16 rifle. The 63rd IB troops were demoralized and continued firing indiscriminately until evening, long after the Red fighters had withdrawn safely. On the other hand, the guerrilla offensive raised the morale of the Red fighters and the people, who rejoiced at the punishment of the abusive troops. The NPA became aware of the enemy operation only a short time before, and was able to respond quickly and decisively with the help of the people's militia.

Also on Oct. 1, Red fighters of the Arnulfo Ortiz Command raided without firing a shot the fishpond of a despotic landlord in Brgy. Inoragyaw, Sta. Margarita, Western Samar. The raid was a punishment after many people complained of the despotic landlord's landgrabbing, anti-worker practices such as low wages and lack of job security, and disenfranchisement of the fisherfolk who lived nearby. The NPA confiscated from the fishpond's security guards four shotguns, a carbine, a .45 cal. pistol and a .38 cal. pistol, and two pumpboat engines. The Red fighters explained the reasons for the raid to the security guards and and reiterated these in a letter left for the fishpond's administrator.

Meanwhile, there is an initial report that the Arnulfo Ortiz Command successfully carried out a tactical offensive against government forces in Pagsangjan, Western Samar last Oct. 2. At least seven firearms of various calibers were confiscated by the Red fighters.

In Brgy. Gibunawan, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar, there is an initial report that Red fighters of the Rogelio Bantilo Command successfully ambushed 63rd IB troops last Oct. 11. At least eight soldiers and the commanding officer, Lt. Joash Pramis, were wounded in action. The 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, Lt. Col. Armando Rico, tried to cover up the demoralizing defeat with a media statement that it was a chance encounter and there were three NPA fighters killed in action. In fact, the Rogelio Bantilo Command successfully planned and carried out the armed engagement as part of stepping up offensive operations against the enemy's small and isolated units of Reengineered Special Operations Teams. #

15 October 2009

NDF-EV commends NPA for tactical offensive in Northern Samar, dismisses Palparan's call for capitulation



PRESS RELEASE
October 14, 2009

Fr. Santiago Salas, Spokesperson
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today commended the Rogelio Bantilo Command for a successful tactical offensive against operating troops of the 63rd IB last Oct. 11 in Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar. “We salute the Rogelio Bantilo Command for punishing the 63rd IB, a fascist unit implicated in many human rights violations including the murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “The NPA did not suffer any casualty, while at least eight soldiers and the commanding officer, Lt. Joash Pramis, were wounded. We call on the public to be wary of the 8th ID spokesperson, Lt. Col. Armando Rico, who is once again doing the usual psywar routine about alleged NPA casualties to deceive the people and cover up another demoralizing defeat.”

Fr. Salas said that the Silvino Lobos offensive showed the NPA is reaping victory after victory, and shrugged off the statement of Gen. Jovito Palparan that the revolutionary movement should surrender by 2010. “Gen. Palparan is not in any position to make demands of capitulation because he is serving a regime that is beginning to go down,” he said. “The Arroyo regime coddled Palparan and others who carried out gross and systematic human rights abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. Thus Gen. Palparan fears what will happen in 2010, because if the Arroyo government ends, happy days might be over for him as he will most certainly be made to pay for his crimes. Various sectors will support the families of his victims who were murdered, tortured or forcibly disappeared, in strongly demanding of the new government that Palparan be arrested, prosecuted and punished. ”

The NDF-EV spokesperson added that while the revolutionary movement is going strong, the Arroyo government is showing signs of collapse. “The people are angry. There is widespread hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas. Meanwhile, in Metro Manila and northern Luzon, the Arroyo government showed its incapability to help the people after recent storms pushed hundreds of thousands into long-term suffering. The Arroyo government is increasingly isolated and uneasy because the people are raging against its criminal neglect, massive corruption that emptied the calamity and contingency funds, promotion of US military intervention in the guise of humanitarian assistance, and misgovernance that accelerated homelessness, joblessness and landlessness.”

Fr. Salas also suggested that Palparan may be showing support for Gen. Arthur Tabaquero because the latter will soon be joining “the club of losers, the commanding generals of the 8th Infantry Division who all utterly failed to stop the revolution”. “It was Palparan who led the extermination campaign against progressive activists and alleged civilian supporters of the revolutionary movement. This led to many political killings during his tour of duty such as that of lawyers Felidito Dacut and Norman Bocar, as well as Rev. Edison Lapuz. Gen. Tabaquero is following Palparan's footsteps with additional political killings, the most recent being that of Dr. Bartolome Resuello and Fr. Cecilio Lucero. But the killings only raised an outcry and even convinced many to join the New People's Army, which is now increasing guerrilla offensives. The revolutionary movement has nothing to fear in 2010; it is Oplan Bantay Laya and the Arroyo regime that are bound to be defeated.” #

About SIRANG



“Sirang” literally means “RISING”. It is also the image of the people's hope for a better future that this blog of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas wishes to impart. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines represents the 16 organizations of the revolutionary movement. Although one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, Eastern Visayas is also a place where the national democratic revolutionary movement is surging. Fr. Santiago Salas is the spokesperson of NDF-Eastern Visayas. This blog will post Fr. Salas's statements as well as that of other member organizations of the NDFP in Eastern Visayas. Other relevant articles will also be posted as needed.