‘Bigger, bloodier’: EV set for worse rights violations as army chief vows to end insurgency

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) today condemned the military’s vow to end insurgency in the region by year 2022, which the revolutionary organization warns will spell intensified and bloodier attacks against civilians and communities.

NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas criticized the commander of 8th Infantry Division-Philippine Army for requesting additional troops and firepower for its counter-insurgency program. Salas said the intensified attacks will primarily target peace-loving people critical of the Duterte regime’s anti-democratic and repressive policies, and not solely members of the New People’s Army.

“Like his predecessors, Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III maintains his commander-in-chief’s militarist stance to addressing the roots of the armed conflict and to silence the burgeoning opposition calling for Duterte’s ouster,” he said.

Salas noted that in the first three years of the Duterte regime, the 8th ID has militarized and conducted combat and peace and development (PDT) operations affecting not less than 500 barangays of up to 300,000 individuals.

Taking a swipe at Diñoso’s braggadocio, Salas said that despite their bigger budget and vast resources, the army chief himself admitted that the best they can do before the end of Duterte’s term is to “contain” the CPP-NPA.

“Diñoso and his ilk thus resort to warmongering and by virtue of the whole-of-nation approach call for the continuation of widespread killings, harassment and threats, misinformation against the people, and coercion of local government officials to support their counter-insurgency efforts,” he warned.

On the other hand, Fr. Salas guaranteed that as the attacks on the people become more frequent and severe, the victims of the 8th ID and ultimately the US-Duterte regime will be incited to demand justice for their war crimes and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile, anti-democratic proposals such as the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law and increased police surveillance of the youth do nothing but fan the people’s hatred of the Duterte regime and encourage them to call for his ouster, he added.

“Likewise, local government officials who disagree with the fascist military are emboldened to heed the call of their constituents to resist the Duterte regime’s pressure to be part of its anti-people counter-insurgency program,” he ended. ##

‘Bigger, bloodier’: EV set for worse rights violations as army chief vows to end insurgency