Posted to the CPP Website (Sep 3): Condemn the Brutal Bombings and Massive Military Operations in Upland Bontoc and the Nothern Barrios of Sagada
NPA Mountain Province Provincial Operations Command (Leonardo Pacsi Command)
In a desperate effort to cover-up the blatant failure of Oplan Bayanihan and stamp out the rising tide of the advancing people’s war to a higher level, combined contingents of the PNP Public Safety Battalion forces of Mountain Province, Benguet and Abra joined forces with combat troops of the Task Force Tadian under the 5th Infantry Division in launching massive military and bombing operations in the vicinity of the northern barrios of Sagada and upland Bontoc, both in the Mountain Province, last August 29 to 30.
The Leonardo Pacsi Command of the NPA-Mountain Province commends its Red fightersfor bravely engaging the enemy and successfully inflicting casualties. At the same time, wecondemn the military and police elements in their indiscriminate aerial bombings and strafing causing damages on civilian properties and animals, and trauma on the populace particularly the children.
Outmaneuvered on the ground, two helicopter gunships continuously dropped undetermined number of rocket bombs and indiscriminately strafed the vicinities of the northern barrios of Sagada, Dalican and Mainit of Bontoc for two days.
No differentfrom the bombings in Malibcong,Abra last May, most affected were the children in the vicinity who suffered psychological effects. A lot of themwere traumatized. Moreover, farmers were prevented from attending to their crops, animals, and water systems.The damage done along the Mabileng communal irrigation system due to the recent typhoons and monsoon rains needing immediate repair works, was exacerbated as some portions were hit directly by the said indiscriminate bombings and aerial strafing. Even smaller irrigation systems servicing the rice paddies at Ambuchaaw and Demang, Aguid, Sagada; Pakanan, Mainit; Matbo and Mapagpag, Dalican, Bontoc were hit.Spring sources along Demang mountain sides tapped for domestic water needs of the northern barrios of Sagada were not spared. Civilians undertaking repair worksalong the Mabileng communal irrigation system were strafed at. Several animals gracing in the Demang mountain slopes were reportedly missing. Similarly,hunterswere denied the right to visit their wild boar traps.
Clearly, the massive military operations,indiscriminate bombings and aerial strafing demonstrate the US-Aquino Regime’s threadbare treatment of the national minorities and their collective right on ancestral land. Malacañang has unleashed the sword of war on the Cordillera people using both the AFP and the PNP to militarize the area and perpetuatenational oppression of the indigenous people. It is at the height of insanity that while the village folks were preoccupied with rehabilitating their farm lots, communal irrigation systems and water work systems damaged by the recent typhoons and monsoon rains, the PNP- trained counter-insurgency units and combat troops of the 5th Infantry Division launchedjoint combat operations. However, it failed in its operation against the alert Red fighters who had been temporarily encamped while several units were dispersed in nearby villages assisting farmers in their relief and rehabilitation work.
It is worthwhile to note that while villagers are victims of these bombings, not a single statement can be heard from Gov. Leonard Mayaen, indicating that he is in cohort with the military. It is during these denounciatory times when kailyansare supposed to be supported by their elected officials.Where is the braggadoccio exhibited by Mayaen in condemning the NPA on the successful tactical offensive against the RPSB counter-insurgency training last June? Why is there no ‘indignation rally’ this time against such indiscriminate and unjustified attacks on the civilian populace?
We call on pro-people and independent bodies like the church to conduct a fact finding mission in the areas mentioned to determine the psychological effects of the bombings on the village folks especially on the children, the damages done on crops, infrastrustures and properties.
We call on the newly elected local government officials to stand on the side of their constituents in condemning this brazen military operation, in demanding justice for individual victims and communities, and reparation to damages.
We hold accountable allAFP and PNP officials for theviolations of the provisions of Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in the indiscriminate and irresponsible bombing and strafing of civilians, crops and properties. We call on all Red fighters and people’s militia to launch tactical offensives against the fascist troops of the reactionary government. Further inflict heavy blows on the enemy as we defend our ancestral lands, rights and resources.
We call on all the people and revolutionary forces to end this rotten system that is perpetuating national oppression on indigenous people and wanton plunder on our rich natural resources for their unsatiable capitalist greed.
Leaders make offers. Leaders speak and move with a presence, a voice, and identity to have their offers heard and accepted. Leaders build new narratives of and commitments for the future with others.
This is the reason that in closed societies and police states like monarchies, oligarchies, dictatorial regimes, and totalitarian states rarely good leaders emerge. They are either cowed or outright silenced or killed if they make counter-views or hurl criticisms.
The late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim had shaped the MILF into this model. He never had been accused of one-man rule or dictatorship. On the contrary, he was criticized during his time as slow in decision-making, a quality that made the MILF what is today. If he made decision, he was firm and can hardly be swayed by contrary views. The incumbent MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim followed the same template. If Salamat was the main ideologue of the MILF, Murad is known for his coolness even in the harshest of situation.
Compare the approaches of the MILF and the MNLF including how they engaged the government in peace talks. The distinction is outstanding. MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari always headed their peace panel from 1976 to 1996. Salamat and Murad never led their peace panel since they became chairs of the MILF. As a working principle, it is good that decisions are made by those who are in body and soul involved in the undertaking. The leader will only put his stamp of approval to the decision thus made. If Napoleon Bonaparte was made a good general and empire-maker, it was because most of the hard decisions during their France’s expansions were made by his generals.
In a modest way, the MILF operates similarly. It always pursues the consultative and collective leadership. No major decision has ever been made except when it is fully deliberated by its central committee, which is real and functional. There is no power struggle within the organization. Murad refused to chair the MILF after the death of Salamat on July 13, 2013. He nominated MNLF vice chair Abdulaziz Mimbantas to become the new chairman. It was the collective decision of his colleagues that only made Murad bow to the will of the majority and accepts the nomination.
For the MILF, the higher cause has to be upheld by all and at all times. This is the reason why it adopted the supportive stance when the MNLF started to talk peace with the government in 1992. It only decided to enter into another negotiation with the government when the GPH-MNLF Final Agreement of 1992 contained so many flaws that short-changed the Bangsamoro people. In the agreement, the MNLF had abandoned the right to self-determination (RSD) of the Bangsamoro people and in the totality clause, the MNLF agreed to allow pertinent Philippine laws to apply if there is a controversy in the interpretation of the agreement.