As expected, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) did not waste time in boasting to the mass media distorted news regarding the firefight in Brgy. Mainit, Bontoc, Mountain Province last August 30, 2018. No less than the spokesperson of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, Capt. Jefferson Somera, and the commander of the 50th Infantry Battalion (IB), Lt. Col. Ruben Guinolbay, spewed out the fake news. According to them, 50th IB troops overrun a camp of the New People’s Army (NPA) one kilometer away from the community of Mainit and that the battle lasted six hours.

The truth is that a unit of the Leonardo Pacsi Command, NPA – Mountain Province, encountered a platoon of the 50th IB at around 11:30 in the evening of August 30 at a ridge below Mt. Amungao which is several kilometers away from Mainit. The said NPA unit was on their way back to their temporary encampment after carrying out political tasks among the masses when they met the enemy troops. The clash lasted for a few minutes with one NPA member as casualty, Noe ‘Ka Gilbert’ Magkachi, who was shot and died at the onset of the firefight. The rest of the NPA team were able to immediately maneuver safely away from the combat zone. Yet, even if the Red fighters were already far from the encounter site, the enemy continued firing until the next morning.

Like their terrorist Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte, it has been the practice of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to issue exaggerations and fabricated stories regarding confrontations with the NPA. They do so, first of all, for military officials to pursue further promotion; and secondly, to create the false impression that they have significantly ‘weakened’ or ‘crushed’ the NPA and the entire armed revolutionary movement.

In waging any war, it is only natural to experience tactical losses in battles. But in a class war, decisive victory rests on which side enjoys the support of the broad masses. Only a desperate mercenary army like the AFP-PNP—which does not have a vein of genuine backing from the people and can only deteriorate even further—will resort to lies to enhance their insignificant victories. But any flagrant attempt of deceit by the enemy can never hide the truth that despite experiencing some tactical defeats, the NPA and the armed revolutionary movement continues to gain strength because it is united in struggle with the oppressed and exploited masses.

Unlike the AFP-PNP which usually hides the truth about their casualties in battle, the Chadli Molintas Command, NPA – Ilocos-Cordillera Region, pays highest tribute to Ka Gilbert, a valiant warrior and commander from the Bontoc tribe. He has laid his life for the masses that he loved and served, an honor that the mercenary troops of the AFP and the PNP wll never earn. ###

Ka Martin Montana