AFP’s despicable campaign to vilify: NPA’s commitment to women’s rights

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in recent year has campaigned to vilify the New People’s Army (NPA) by peddling despicable lies about “abuses” against women. It based its allegations on “evidences” of birth control pills, condoms and pregnancy test kits confiscated in NPA camps during encounters which they claim as “proof” of “sex slavery.”

This is despite the fact that these are medical supplies for responsible family planning. Contrary to lies peddled by the AFP, the use of these supplies proves the promotion of women’s rights to reproductive health in the revolutionary movement. The lies are not only malicious but proves the reactionary army’s bigotry and contempt of women.

Members of the NPA actively promotes women’s rights and welfare, especially those of women Red fighters. This is stipulated in the Eight Points of Attention of the NPA: “Do not take liberties with women.” This principle is upheld in all guerrilla fronts, especially in relationships and marital affairs. Those who violate this are meted with appropriate disciplinary action.

The revolutionary movement has policies in terms of marriage, as well as annullment and divorce. Part of this is the recognition of women and couple’s rights to reproductive health and family planning in the people’s army. NPA units allots resources to ensure needs for contraception. Discussions on establishing revolutionary families and contraception are actively held in the people’s army.

AFP’s record of abuses against women

The AFP and NPA are direct opposites in terms of upholding women’s rights. Rodrigo Duterte, the AFP commander-in-chief himself, ordered to shoot women Red fighters in the vagina. He is notorious for misogyny, and for inciting soldiers and policemen to commit crimes against women.

AFP abuses against women and minors are widespread. These are usually perpetrated during the conduct of military Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) operations wherein they encamp in communities for long periods of time.

Last year, it was reported that soldiers summoned women residents of Sitio Tapayanon, Barangay Gupitan, Davao del Norte every Saturday to pick who they will rape. This resulted in numerous cases of unplanned pregnancies in the said community which devastate residents’ families.

In 2018, a soldier of the 54th IB raped a 16-year old girl in Tinoc, Ifugao. During the same year, another soldier reportedly sexually harassed another woman in Barangay Lob-ong, Asipulo.

In Ifugao, soldiers are also notorious for having extramarital affairs with women. A soldier also reportedly peed in front of a girl minor, while another shouted, “Virgins here are worth only two hundred pesos!” in a community in Asipulo.

In interview published by Daba-Daba, the revolutionary publication of Panay, parents said, “We are more confident leaving our daughters in an NPA platoon than leaving them in the presence of soldiers.”

AFP's despicable campaign to vilify: NPA's commitment to women's rights