Davao City’s proposed ‘anti-discrimination legislation against former rebels’ is mere damage control of AFP’s fake surrender racket
The proposed amendment to Davao City’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include a provision supposedly protecting ‘former rebels’ is nothing but damage control to the adversely affected lives and livelihood of thousands of Lumad and peasants who were forced by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “surrender” as New People’s Army fighters or sympathizers. It is yet another deodorizing stunt to downplay the injury caused by the fascist and corrupt AFP’s money-making scheme of forcible mass surrender of unarmed civilians in order to inflate its so-called victories in the counterinsurgency campaign and line their pockets in the process.
We give the benefit of the doubt to acting Mayor Sebastian Duterte who, perhaps finally realizing the dire consequences of the surrender drive by the insidious Peace 911 and the Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program (E-CLIP), expressed recently his intention to enact said amendment. While done with good intent, Vice Mayor Duterte must be aware that this is the result of the AFP’s wholesale, indiscriminate and forcible surrender of civilians who, despite having no direct experience in armed struggle, have been forced to wear the fascist-styled scarlet letters FR or former rebels. Some of these peasants and Lumad have even been maliciously charged with preposterous criminal charges in order to force their “surrender.”
In truth, across the region, former Red fighters who have decided to sincerely return to civilian life due to incapacity, illness or other pressing reasons have been welcomed warmly by Lumad and peasant communities in the base areas and guerilla zones. As long as they remained productive and posed no threat to the masses, they hardly experienced any difficulty in easing back into civilian life, finding work and living simply and honestly as their years in the Red army have taught them.
On the other hand, the very few but very noisy former Red fighters who betrayed the masses and the national democratic cause have now become active slaves of the fascist enemy, earning their keep either by endangering civilian lives through helping carry out fake surrenders or spewing out half-truths and whole lies prepared by the AFP’s spin doctors. They are forced to live in military detachments or in AFP housing projects where their every movement is monitored and controlled. Some of them are in fact under duress, being coerced to do the enemy’s bidding for fear of their lives and their families’. But all of them agonize over that forthcoming day when they will inevitably lose all usefulness to the AFP’s mad counterinsurgency campaign and be targeted for the enemy’s liquidation.
Meanwhile, several comrades who had been forced to surrender under false promises of being cleared of trumped-up charges are now being told by AFP troops to not let their guards down because the police are still trying to arrest them. Apparently, their surrender in order to “live normal lives” as peddled by the enemy has amounted to nothing. A number of them have now reached out to leaders of local organs of political power and revolutionary mass organizations for fear of becoming targets of extra-judicial killing by AFP or PNP elements or falling victim to the enemy’s false-flag operations which the AFP would later blame the NPA for.
If the local reactionary government of Davao City were truly sincere, it would do well to help the thousands of civilians who have been maliciously forced to surrender as NPA fighters or sympathizers by conducting an independent and thorough investigation to open the can of worms that is the profiteering surrender racket of the AFP. Vice Mayor Duterte can muster his influence to immediately and without condition drop all malicious charges against civilians falsely accused by the AFP and PNP and release the hundreds of political prisoners languishing in Davao City jails.
We urge Vice Mayor Duterte, whom we have seen in the past to have advocated for Lumad rights, to step out and away from the dark fascist shadows of his father and older sister. We challenge him to do away with band-aid non-sense such as “anti-discrimination against former rebels” and instead disband the anti-people Peace 911 which has brought nothing but misery to the Lumad and peasants of Davao City. He must refuse to be a willing pawn in the AFP’s counterinsurgency war if he intends to be a local government official who aims to target the roots of the armed struggle and not the Davaoeños suffering under his father and sister’s tyrannical rule.