503rd Brigade Dragged Church People and Hypocritically Rides on People’s Issues to Advance Oplan Bayanihan in Abra

Diego Wadagan
Agustin Begnalen Command, NPA-Abra
8 September 2012

Col. Eliseo Posadas, Commander of the 503rd Brigade stationed in Abra Province, is a better politician than a military commander. He is prominent in socio-civic-political activities than in the battlefield. His claims of strategic victory over the CPP-NPA-CPDF in Abra are illusory, based on exaggerated figures, deception, and crooked yardstick to measure their advance. He may have won certain battles, but certainly, the AFP/PNP is not winning the war.

But Col. Eliseo Posadas cannot be singled-out in this matter. He is an officer of the fascist AFP, and he is duty-bound to implement Oplan Bayanihan (OPB). With US guidance in it’s formulation and implementation, OPB gives premium on psychological warfare and politico-cultural-economic approaches, while maintaining the crucial role of “improved” military component in the entire counter-insurgency campaign.

Recently, Col. Posadas convened the so-called Church-Military Advisory Group (CMAG), reminiscent of the Church Military Liaison Committee (CMLC), a doomed attempt by the defunct Philippine Constabulary and the Presidential Guard Battalion to coopt the church people of Abra during the historic fight of the people against the Cellophil Resources Corporation (CRC) and the US-Marcos Dictatorship in the mid-1970’s. And since then, CMAG has gone high profile in the media and in public. It is a vain attempt to use the credibility and broad influence of the church among the people of Abra, in furtherance of their anti-people campaign of terrorism and deception and in support of large-scale mining companies, other big business interests, and political interests of certain warlord factions that will pay the right price.

The 503rd Brigade is reputed to be the “Mining Security Force” of Abra. The Brigade HQ is strategically located and the 41st IB and the 50th IB were, and still is deployed in areas where large-scale mining permits and applications are prevalent. OPB in Abra is not merely against the CPP-NPA-CPDF, but it is deployed against the people struggling against large-scale mining companies. Such is the case in Tineg, Lacub, Malibcong, Baay-Licuan, Daguioman, Sallapadan, Bucloc, Boliney, Tubo, Lagangilang and Bucay.

Recently the so-called Church-Military Advisory Group raised its concern over the issue of small-scale mining in the province, particularly in municipalities enumerated above. It is rightfully the duty of the church to heed the people’s cry for help in uplifting the plight of the people engaged in small-scale mining, the only viable source of self-reliant livelihood and cash, apart from agriculture. The CPP-NPA-CPDF applauds the church in this endeavor.

But it is pure hypocrisy for the 503rd Brigade!

Take for example the case of Capcapo, in Baay-Licuan. A CAFGU detachment is situated a stone’s throw away from the small-scale mining site, another CAFGU Detachment is situated in Bituen, and the Advanced Command Post of the 41st IB is in Bakiro, only about 2 kilometers away from the mining site. Instead of improved peace and order situation and the enforcement of indigenous, traditional and contemporary regulations on small-scale mining activities, Capcapo is in chaos, with numerous unreported deaths caused by unsafe mining practices and killings due to mining-related conflicts and sheer decadence, often involving military and para-military personnel and goons of warlords.

In other municipalities, especially in Lacub, the people have been regulating small-scale mining activities through collective unity based on indigenous, traditional, and revolutionary practices and norms in the past. But with massive militarization since 2008 and with the 41st IB acting in-cahoots with local warlords and the Golden Lake Mineral Resources (Miguel M. Pena/PHILEX mining), SSM activities in the localities degenerated and became unregulated, with warlords and their minions leading the environmental plunder and robbery of the collective resources of the Binongans, Mabacas, and Adasens. Contradictions among the people intensified, and violence triggered by decadent lifestyles concomitant with militarization and unregulated mining became widespread and casual.

The AFP further drags the church into its pro-large-scale mining company and anti-people counter-insurgency campaign through it’s Social Integration Program (SIP) and Kinnabsatan Program, or simply a surrender campaign. There is a thin line separating counter-revolution and pro-revolution in humanitarian activities, especially in a country where a people’s war is raging. Open, joint and direct activities with either the CPP-NPA-CPDF on the one-hand, and PNP-AFP on the other hand will necessarily be interpreted as for or against the warring groups. In this case, the more logical and upright stance is to side with the people. For example, assisting the wounded and the sick is not only humanitarian but is the duty of all, regardless of political affiliation and religious beliefs. But aiding directly or indirectly in the arrest or surrender of a combatant from the NPA or AFP is clearly revolutionary or counter-revolutionary.

We call on the church groups in Abra to pursue their humanitarian missions consistent with the people’s interests, and independent of the PNP, the AFP, and other government institutions directly involved in OPB.

Col. Eliseo Posadas brags about the alleged surrenderees, and claims achievement for the long list always presented in photo ops and media stints. This list includes surrenderies from the past decades, fake NPAs, and overly rated NPA surrenderies. Ordinary masses and applicants are branded as NPA Red Fighters; ordinary Red Fighters are made to be top ranking officers instantly becoming commanders, political and all sorts of other officers. This exaggeration of figures is standard for the AFP for black propaganda, to boost military and political promotions and ambitions, and to collect bounty money allotted for the arrest of officers of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

In reality, there is a natural process of weeding out individuals unfit in revolutionary organizations. Those without sufficient revolutionary knowledge, commitment, and discipline are immediately expelled or “returned-to-barrio;” unremolded incorrigibles regardless of length of revolutionary service are likewise excreted; and those incapable of surmounting pressures of personal circumstances concensually or individually decide to downgrade revolutionary involvement. A few among them are lured into voluntary surrender, deceived by cash and other benefits promised by the AFP and counter-revolutionary personalities; only to realize later that much of these alleged benefits have been expropriated by top military and civilian officials, and that going back to civilian life only means going back to the miserable life of the oppressed and exploited that pushed them to take up arms in the first place.

Revolutionary martyrs become inspiration to the revolutionaries and masses. And in place of those unfit for revolutionary armed struggle, an increasing number of the best sons and daughters of the peasant masses, the youth and students from the urban and town centers, and other members and cadres of the revolutionary movement are joining the New People’s Army.

True, the 503rd Brigade may have won some battles like the case of the Tineg 8 Incident in October, 2011. But the AFP is loosing the war, the people’s war! Such is the case because the AFP is fighting for the ruling classes and against the interests of the people; the 503rd Brigade is fighting for the large-scale mining companies and the warlords of Abra, and against the indigenous peoples, the peasant masses and other democratic classes of Abra.

Uphold the people’s democratic revolution!
Defeat Oplan Bayanihan!
Advance the revolution to strategic stalemate and final victory!