Afraid of its Own Misdeeds and with the Intention to Deceive the People, The AFP Declares a Bogus Unilateral Truce

Patnubay de Guia
NDF-Southern Tagalog Region
December 20, 2012

This is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) being hypocritical. As if peace has a seasonal quality to them, the AFP’s 16-day unilateral yuletide truce that takes effect from December 16, 2012 until January 2, 2013 purports to be the military’s commitment, sincerity and resolve to achieve peace.

The military has been declaring its suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against the New People’s Army (NPA) annually, which is according to them, an opportunity for soldiers and villagers to celebrate the Christmas season peacefully. And every year, the truce never fails to turn out as a rebuttal of itself.

In a statement, the AFP condemns the series of tactical offensives launched by Bienvenido Valleber Command-NPA Palawan, which in the first place, were held before the AFP called for a unilateral truce. The raid on a police station in Roxas, Palawan on December 12 was a legitimate action to defend the interest of the small miners from extortion and destructive activities of the local police force. Moreover, the punitive action against Citinickel Mines Corporation on December 9, 2012 in Sofronio Española and the other one against a construction company in Taytay on December 11, 2012 were carried out as revolutionary punishments against the operations of local and foreign mining companies that are destructive to the livelihood, domicile and environment and which unabatedly plunder the natural resources of the country for the greedy interest of foreign corporation and the detriment of the national interest.

These military actions were concrete manifestations of the strong support of the Palaweños to the NPA and their strong call and resolve to stop anti-people and anti-environment activities in the province. The NPA shares the interests of the people. Undoubtedly, the interest of the AFP and that of the foreign companies are likewise akin. Questioning the legitimacy of the NPA’s military actions clearly shows where the military places its economic and political interests. It only unmasks its reactionary and mercenary character.

The search for peace is not seasonal. It should be worked out year in and year out. The word itself should not especially be used to deceive people. Peace has remained elusive precisely because of the fact that the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and AFP has never been sincere in its efforts to resolve the roots of armed conflict. Instead of safeguarding the people’s interests, all its efforts are incumbent upon the interests of the local and foreign capitalists. Instead of providing services, it continues to unleash war against the people through its counter insurgency program that is the Oplan Bayanihan.  It is ludicrous that when AFP units launch offensive military operations against the NPA, maim and mutilate civilian suspects, and disrupt the people’s livelihood, they euphemistically call it “peace and development operations”.

This is not the people being cynical; this is the AFP being completely hypocritical. The military takes advantage of the truce and turns it into opportunity to persist on committing human rights violation against the civilian communities. Under the cloak of its Peace and Development Operations, the AFP continues to harass civilians by burning villages; setting up of military detachments in school campuses or grounds; imposing curfews, food and economic blockade; arresting, abducting and killing civilians. Forces of 80th IB killed Lester Barrientos, a cultural worker spending the yuletide season in Mindoro, on the midnight of December 23, 2010 during the AFP’s SOMO.

We call on the New People’s Army and the revolutionary community to remain vigilant against AFP attacks in spite of the truce. The AFP’s unilateral truce is nothing but a bogus; it shows military being afraid of its own misdeeds, an artifice that intends to deceive the Filipino people.