CAFGU/AFP Detachments – Anti-Development and Unable to Solve the Basic Problems of the People

This article is available in Bisaya

The detachments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines/Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (AFP/CAFGU) produced nothing significant towards developing the livelihood of the people in the region. It failed to solve the basic problems of the people such as low wages, landlessness, high rent of land and farm equipment, low prices of farm products, high loan interest rates, and rising prices of commodities. It has not ended criminality that is greatly alarming the people. Whatever “development” programs they implement are mere lip service (consuelo de bobo), meant to deceive and mislead.

In fact, it has worsened poverty and suffering of farmers and Lumad as they threaten, oppress, control the entry of food and kill leaders and members of organizations fighting for their rights and improving their livelihoods. The military have been breaking apart legitimate organizations who have been helping one another for the good of the people through the exchange of labor or collective farming, to lessen, improve and accelerate farm work. The struggle of farmers to increase prices of agricultural products, lower land rent and others are hindered, even though the families of CAFGUs and regular members of the AFP also benefit from these.

At present there are almost a hundred (100) AFP/CAFGU/SCAA detachments in the region. Several of these have existed for 30-50 years like the detachments in Padiay, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur; Bolhoon, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur; Puting Bato, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; Marga, Tubod, Surigao del Norte and others, yet the conditions of the people in these areas remain poor. It has become the nesting grounds for criminals and instigators of anti-social activities in the barrios such as the use of illegal drugs, gambling, drinking, pornography, rape, adultery, robbery, kidnapping, penile-implants (injecting oil and inserting pellets inside the sexual organs of males) and other crimes.

AFP/CAFGU forces assigned in the detachments are extorting small loggers, miners and other businesses in the area, in connivance with bandit paramilitaries such as the groups of Hasmen Acebedo, Marcos Bocales, Rico Maca and Calpit Igwa. These have become instruments of the capitalists and landlords in grabbing land for imperialist plantations and mines. This is the reason why they have not been able to solve the problem of illegal logging and mining.

It is very clear that the detachments are not meant to provide security to the people as they are using the residents as shields by establishing these (detachments) in the center of the barrios or communities and near chapels, schools and homes. This is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other international laws on conflict.

On the other hand, if these communities or barrios have not been militarized, if military camps have not been established and legitimate people’s organization have not been destroyed, the people would have continued improving their lives and livelihoods through collective actions and endeavors amid the crisis besetting Philippine society.

This proves that the establishment of AFP/CAFGU detachments are anti-development and are intensifying the suffering of the people. It is but right that the people do away with existing CAFGU/AFP detachments in their areas and oppose plans of establishing more.

Uphold and respect the basic rights of the people. Genuine development can only be achieved through their united, free and democratic actions.

Ka Maria Malaya

CAFGU/AFP Detachments – Anti-Development and Unable to Solve the Basic Problems of the People