Troops deployment, FMO betray 10th ID’s claim of insurgency-free provinces in Southern Mindanao
The 10th Infantry Division is fooling no one in its recent declaration that the provinces of Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental and Davao City are now “insurgency-free.” Not even its own foot soldiers under the 19 battalions who continue to be deployed and are relentlessly conducting focus military operations in the countryside of Southern Mindanao. Aside from these regular Army forces, billions in taxpayers’ money are being spent to maintain at least 400 CAFGU detachments and 13 paramilitary forces. All these, in a region that is supposed to be 80% NPA-free.
To lend credence to its claim, the 10th ID lists as its accomplishments the several thousands of surrendered supporters, i.e. civilian non-combatants, its fascist troops managed to coerce and herd in expensive “surrender ceremonies.” It also boasted the liquidation of NPA and CPP officers, most of whom were hors de combat at the time they were killed, and arrest or surrender of several others. In all of these figures, however, the 10th ID conveniently glossed over the thousands more civilians and non-combatants that its troops either bombed, terrorized or killed in the process and the billions of pesos it questionably spent in order to backtrack to just an “insurgency-free declaration” instead of its earlier haughty target of “defeating” the NPA in the region.
The Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao is well aware of the temporary setbacks incurred from temporary decrease in the number of Red fighters and personnel and several battlefield losses. These do not equate to “insurgency-free areas,” much less the defeat of the revolutionary armed struggle. It is a reality in the fluid nature of war that Marxist revolutionaries are prepared for. If anything, these circumstances only reveal the limits of the enemy’s strength and forces, the resources it employs against the people and the extent of fascism and tyranny it is capable of. These are matters which are being thoroughly studied and addressed by battle-tested Red commanders and Party officers still in the thick and on top of the guerilla war.
The 10th ID, like all enemy units across the country, do not grasp the principles of the people’s protracted war. If it had, it would have understood from the onset how guerilla units, in the face of relentless enemy campaign of encirclement and suppression, are able to maintain initiative, conceal and preserve their forces and secretly conduct comprehensive revolutionary work through shifting, concentration, dispersal and expansion. Indeed, if the enemy grasped the barest basics of guerilla warfare at all, the enemy would know how hallow their so-called declarations truly were.
It is worth evaluating the 10th ID’s true motivations in declaring the aforesaid provinces as “insurgency-free.” The US-Duterte regime is hell-bent in sweeping its innumerable war crimes and crimes against the people under the rug by projecting the legacy of bringing the revolutionary movement, especially the NPA, down to its knees. Bombarded by criticism from all sectors of society, the militarist regime needs justification for the hundreds of billions of pesos it squandered in “modernizing” the state armed forces and billions more it wasted on or pocketed from graft-laden programs such as the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and Barangay Development Program (BDP). It is similarly hard-pressed to downplay the fatal damage that the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has wrought against civil society with its incessant red-tagging and harassment. By declaring parts of the country, especially in Southern Mindanao which it has long-considered to be a priority region, to be “insurgency-free,” the fascist regime is desperately courting support to continue its bloody counterinsurgency madness.
In issuing such declarations, the 10th ID is trying in vain to negate the fact that not only do the roots of the civil war remain an urgent matter of reality but Duterte’s six-year fascist tyranny has in fact exacerbated them. The regime made no headway in addressing the problem of landlessness among the peasantry but subjected them to myriad cases of landgrabbing and displacement with aggressive expansion of monocrop plantations and mining, big-ticket infrastructure projects and eco-tourism ventures. Workers’ woes worsened with slave wages, job insecurity and unfair labor practices in the workplace. The petty bourgeoisie, a dwindling class in Duterte’s reign, continues to suffer loss of employment and sources of income. These are easily verifiable facts that contradict the US-Duterte regime and the AFP’s highfalutin claims.
Behind all the bravado, the 10th ID and the Eastern Mindanao Command know for sure it is only a matter of time when their declarations will come back and haunt them, as they did many times in the past. NPA units in Southern Mindanao know this, as do the millions of masses in the region who love and support them.