As Duterte’s FMO becomes a scourge, the people should relentlessly fight and struggle

No money to address the Covid-19 crisis but government continues to waste billions on militarization and bombings.

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, the 4th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines perpetuated and intensified their focused military operations (FMO) in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte.

The 4th ID started this series of FMO on July 26 when nine KM250 6×6 truck carrying troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion (IB) entered the vicinity of Brgy. San Vicente, San Luis, Agusan del Sur. On July 28, military fighter jets dropped at least 20 bombs, including artillery shells, in Sitio Magawa, Hagpa, Impasug-ong. Simultaneously, a platoon of the same unit set foot in Brgy. Sinakungan, of the same province.

The 26th IB also mounted their operation in three barrios in Mahayahay and Binicalan in San Luis while other four in Mahagsay, San Vicente and Sinakungan in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. Out of terror, residents from Sitio Kalasungay and Lintagoan, San Vicente forcedly evacuated to the community center.

Meanwhile, on August 4, a composite battalion of the 8th and 88th IB, 4th ID’s Division Reconnaissance Company and Scout Ranger was spotted in Sitio Bendum, Brgy. Busdi, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. They also occupied other four barrios in Mapulo, Can-ayan and St. Peter.

In Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, a total of six artillery tanks were mounted in Iba and Indalasa while enemy forces occupied six barrios in Zamboanguita, Canangaan and Mandahikan. Soldiers also operated in seven barrios in Calabugao and Bulunay, Impasug-ong.

In Misamis Oriental, an encounter between the NPA and AFP took place in Sitio Mangilit, Brgy. Bal-ason, Gingoog City on August 14.

On August 8, a firefight took place in Sitio Mahagpa, Brgy. Hagpa when the Red fighters spotted the operating enemy forces.

Since August 19, aerial materiels have been hovering in several areas. On August 21, their four military helicopters hovered for a day in Impasug-ong and Esperanza. Another series of aerial activities took place on August 23 and 24.

Moreover, in the guise of providing assistance to the community, the AFP uses the pandemic to manipulate the mobility of the peasant masses in their barrio. The “community service program (CSP)” paves way for the AFP’s militarization in San Vicente, Agusan del Sur; Sitio Mahagwa, Hagpa; Sitio Ulayanon, Calabugao; Sitio Mahayahat, St. Peter and Sityo Bendum, Busdi, Bukidnon. As how it usually goes, residents from said communities are immured by the soldiers and are forced to surrender as members of the NPA.

In Sitio Kumaliwat, Brgy. Paradise, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, soldiers tortured a civilian for a mere allegation that he is member of the NPA. In Sitio Balaudo, St. Peter, Malaybalay, troops of the 8th IB fired at a civilian, who was tilling his farm.

Since May 2020, 24 cases of FMOs in the region, including those Division-led down to the company-led operations, have been recorded. One of which was the operation led by the 4th ID in Cabanglasan, Malaybalay and Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Sur.

Amid the administration’s failed response to the pandemic, the US-Duterte regime and the lapdog AFP is adding insult to the injury of the peasant masses. Lives and livelihood of lumad and local farmers are constantly disrupted by the AFP camping in the community’s hall and school, harassing civilians and forcing them to surrender. The AFP continues to sow terror which made them a scourge in the aggravating impoverish situation of the Filipino masses. While health and other basic services were ineptly provided to the clamoring people, Duterte instead focuses on his ambition to end the NPA.

At present, the masses fear that their lives will be on the death row, not because of Covid-19, but from hunger and atrocities of state forces. Local peasants today were supposed to tend the crops they planted when the pandemic broke out but they were restricted by the AFP from cultivating their farm.

The more Duterte takes advantage of the pandemic for his counter-insurgency and political repression, the more he will unmask himself as the fascist, tyrannical and corrupt regime who is incompetent in addressing the people’s plight. Duterte is only fanning the flames of the people’s resistance to wage war. If he challenged the people that if “revolution is what you want, do it now,” then it should be a challenge accepted!

As Duterte's FMO becomes a scourge, the people should relentlessly fight and struggle