AFP’s ceasefire a sham, combat ops worsen the masses’ woes amid Covid-19 pandemic

As far as the fascist troops under the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division are concerned, the unilateral ceasefire order declared by the US-Duterte regime is a sham, with their relentless combat operations and forward deployments that only amplify the grievous state of the masses amid the COVID 19 crisis.

On April 7 at around 8:30 in the morning, a composite combat force of the 71st IB and 28th IB, raided a team of medical officers and other Red fighters, which has been conducting a series of information drive about the Covid-19 disease for several weeks among the masses in Sitio Matinglob, Brgy. Tagdangua and other neighboring villages in Pantukan town. In keeping with the directives of the Regional Operations Command of NPA-SMR, the team was dispatched to hold consultations with revolutionary organizations with regards to prevention of the pandemic and likewise plan widespread production campaigns in preparation for the lean months ahead.

Martyred were Benjamin “Ka Ricky” Olbis, 53, and Julius “Ka Astro” Aquiatan, 20, both members of the sub-regional medical team. Reports from the masses confirm that Ka Astro’s body bore torture marks, with deep slashes and hacking wounds in both his arms and one of his legs. Not only have enemy forces violated their own ceasefire order but committed so in the most heinous and inhumane means possible.

It is by no stretch of imagination that AFP forces are using the Covid-19 pandemic as yet another tool in their anti-people counterinsurgency campaign. In several barangays in Pantukan, for instance, enemy forces conducting so-called retooled community support program (RCSP) have continued to force mass surrender drives among residents, informing them that only those who have “surrendered” will be given relief goods in light of the restrictive community quarantine. Hundreds of families in several other barangays have also complained that they have yet to receive any form of food or financial assistance from the reactionary government.

Since their ceasefire declaration 3 weeks ago, combat operations by 71st IB troops have been reported in the villages of Manipongol, Panangan, Elizalde, and New Barile in Maco town; and in the villages of Cabuyoan, Cadunan, Pangibiran, Libudon, Golden Valley, Anitapan in Mabini town. Composite combat operations by troops belonging to 28th IB, 66th IB, and 71st IB have also been confirmed in the villages of Bongabong, Tibagon, Tagdangua, Napnapan, and Tagugpo in Pantukan town. Combat forces of 66th IB have been sighted in the villages of Mahayahay and Magcagong in the town of Maragusan, while troops of 28th IB have been reported in Don Mariano and Maragatas in Lupon town.

The fascist AFP forces are likewise wasting scarce material and financial resources in exorbitant aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, notwithstanding the periodic aerial bombardment and shelling that only ever victimize civilian communities and destroy farms and livelihood.

Without a doubt, the US-Duterte regime’s corrupt greed has compounded the problem confronting the masses, especially in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the hinterlands of Davao de Oro and Davao Oriental, Duterte’s favored clique of the ruling class is salivating over rich natural resources and has continued the destruction of the environment with the incursion of logging, mining and tourism projects. This economic aggression, funded by imperialist investment and safeguarded by state fascism, has not only pushed the poorest majority of Lumad and peasants to further penury but also made them extremely vulnerable to the spread of diseases and other such calamities.

At present, the masses are being grievously saddled by the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, the unrelenting fascist attacks of AFP and PNP troops, and the ensuing economic burden that is unfolding with the US-Duterte regime’s criminal negligence in the midst of the calamity and as a result of the decades-long avaricious rampage of the ruling class in their interest of preserving the rotten semi-colonial and semi-feudal system. In the face of this, the Filipino masses find more urgency in unwaveringly waging the national democratic struggle with the revolutionary armed resistance as their main shield and weapon.

AFP's ceasefire a sham, combat ops worsen the masses' woes amid Covid-19 pandemic