Resist the brutal attacks against civilians in the war against the people


Systematic attacks against civilians committed by the fascist reactionary state in its war against the people are becoming more and more and vicious. This reveals both the Rodrigo Duterte’s malevolent and bloodthirsty policy, and the desperation of the entire ruling classes to suppress the Filipino people and prevent the advance of their national and democratic struggles. Anticipate that these attacks against civilians will further intensify in the face of the US-Duterte regime’s desperation to show “victory” in its declaration of “crushing” the New People’s Army before its term ends in May 2022.

Acts that endanger or directly aim at civilians by the armed and coercive instruments of the reactionary state violate the principles and policies of international humanitarian law (IHL). These laws and principles must be recognized or applied with the objective of protecting the lives and welfare of civilians amid wars, such as the current civil war in the Philippines between the ruling state and the armed revolutionary movement. Humanitarian law also covers the welfare of captured combatants or those who have been rendered incapable of fighting.

Aiming at or armed suppression against civilians is a brutal counterinsurgency strategy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), in line with doctrinal teaching of the US military. This is promoted by the National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac, Duterte’s civil-military junta, which practically runs the country. They are obsessed with the failed fascist dogma of “draining the waters” where the armed revolutionary forces swim, to justify their relentless armed suppression of peasants, workers, the pettybourgeoisie and other progressive classes and sectors. They are blind to the fact that the wellspring of the masses’ support for their people’s army does not dry up, and that the more vicious the terrorist typhoon of the AFP and PNP’s fascism, the more that the people’s flood of support and the tide of resistance rises.

The attacks of the AFP and PNP are most barbarous against civilians in rural areas as they wage their war against peasants. Fascist state agents aim to crush the peasant masses through intimidation, make them bow to military power, smash their organizations and force them to surrender their struggle for land. The anti-peasant war of the AFP and PNP is a war to pave the way for the plunderous and destructive mining companies, for establishing and expanding plantations and ecotourism, energy and infrastructure projects of big business.

These attacks are relentless especially in the hinterlands, far from media coverage, where communication is slow and where the military control the flow of information. In many areas in the countryside, there is no law but martial law. The military and police do not respect legal processes or the justice system even under the 1987 reactionary constitution, moreso the provisions of international humanitarian law and declarations of human rights.

Contrary to the principle of distinction to differentiate civilians from armed combatants, the AFP and PNP target civilians in its armed and psywar operations. The military and police employ brutal and illegal weapons against civilians in its war against the peasants.

It employs red-tagging or the arbitrary accusing entire communities of supporting the revolutionary movement to justify suppressing and terrorizing civilians. Contrary to humanitarian law, they occupy and place entire communities under military control on the pretext of “community support” and “barangay development.” In violation of humanitarian law and human rights, the AFP and PNP imposes blockades on food and commerce. Checkpoints are illegally set up and communities are fenced off to control to entry and exit of people and subject to search anyone passing through. The AFP and PNP bring great suffering and hardship by prohibiting peasants to tend to their land or swidden farms for weeks or months on end.

The presence of armed soldiers shatter community peace, especially when they go on drunken sprees, gambling, cockfighting and promoting drugs and pornography. There have been countless cases of indiscriminate firing of weapons in the middle of the night to terrorize the people and establish their tyrannical rule in the communities. They also aim to terrorize people when they go around in the middle of the night, enter homes and interrogate civilians and force them to leave their organizations.

Even without lawyers or legal representation, civilians are forced to “admit” to the military and police accusations. Thousands have been victimized in this terrorist campaign to intimidate the masses to “surrender.” Large numbers of people have been deceived to join rallies or assemblies organized by the military supposedly for distributing subsidies or relief goods. People are forced by the AFP and PNP to join the fake organizations they set up.

Relentless aerial bombing and strafing and artillery shelling in communities are brazen violations of international humanitarian law. These clearly target farms and villages with the objective of enveloping people in terror and paralyzing them with fear. Civilians suffer hours of noise emitted by drones encircling above their communities. Over the past years, tens of thousands of peasants have been forced to leave their homes due to fear of indiscriminate bombing. On a number of occasion, people have been driven away to declare their communities as “no man’s land” making anyone left fair game for the military.

Fascist attacks against civilians must be resisted thoroughly and firmly. The people must unite to demand an end to the AFP and PNP’s total war. The masses in the countryside must strengthen their defense of their rights as civilians under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other laws.

All attacks against civilians by armed agents of the reactionary state must be untiringly exposed and condemned. Presently, most of the cases are not being reported. Employ every means of informing the public about every violation. Mobilize the people to expose in mass media and social media all the military and psywar operations of the AFP and PNP that bring terror, violence and burden on the masses. Exert all effort to inform the international community of the attacks against civilians and bring together the broadest opposition against aerial bombardment, artillery shelling and other forms of state terrorism.

Especially in the coming months, the Filipino people must strengthen their resistance and show the entire world that they will never bow or kneel before the US-Duterte regime’s fascist onslaught.

Resist the brutal attacks against civilians in the war against the people