AFP squanders funds for relentless combat ops in Borongan
The New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today blasted the Armed Forces of the Philippines for squandering public funds to conduct relentless military operations and helicopter overflights in Borongan City, Eastern Samar this month.
The Efren Martires Command reported that at least 90 AFP troops conducted combat operations in Brgy. San Andres, Borongan City last May 3. The AFP then conducted helicopter overflights over the area for two days.
Operating attack helicopters, for example a UH1J Huey helicopter, can cost the military up to P110,000/hour.
Prior to this, a hundred troops of the 78th Infantry Battalion and 46th Infantry Battalion conducted combat operations in Borongan and in nearby San Julian town from March 24 to 27. On March 26, a team of Red fighters harassed a column of enemy troops in the forested area near Brgy. San Andres. The soldiers fled for their lives to the barrio.
Borongan is one of several municipalities in Eastern Visayas under focused military operations (FMO.) Operational costs for FMO in one region can cost up to P200 million a year. At least seven barangays in Borongan are also under sustained Retooled Community Support Program operations by combined elements of the AFP-PNP.
“The AFP’s military operations against the NPA are useless and wasteful. With less than two years left before its 2022 deadline, it has yet to make true to its pronouncement of dismantling a single guerrilla front in the region. It succeeded in wasting billions of pesos to terrorize peasant communities in the midst of the pandemic,” NPA-EMC spokesperson Karlos Manuel said.
Manuel also chided the 78th IB commander Lt. Col. Oliver Alvior for suggesting that the people of Borongan can be bought into participating in their counter-insurgency campaign through a “community outreach activity,” which is actually part of their psychological warfare operations and surrender program meant to take advantage of the people’s grave economic hardship and hunger.
“No kind of ‘sugar-coated bullets’ can buy off the people’s contempt of the fascist AFP troops. The people can never forget the countless abuses they suffered in the hands of the 78th IB. In July 2020, soldiers strafed at seven civilians, including two children, in Borongan City. In May, they arrested a resident of Brgy. Roxas, Giporlos and forced him into joining their operations,” he added.
Manuel urged the people to expose and oppose the wasteful combat operations of the AFP. “The futile and terrorist counter-insurgency campaign of the Duterte regime does not deserve a cent of the people’s funds. Their operations only disturb the peasants who are trying to make a living in the midst of grave crisis. Their funds should be spent towards a more effective government response against COVID-19 and as aid for the poor,” he ended.