NDF-Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 24): Two years under Duterte, state of Mindanao worse than ever
24 July 2018
Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the first ever Philippine president from Mindanao, who touts himself the champion and defender of Mindanao, has in fact inflicted large-scale devastation, social unrest and unabated fascist attacks upon the island two years into his administration, worse than any other past Philippine president.
Duterte has sowed terror in his very own backyard by using his sham peace efforts, coupled with his total war against the people, thus rapidly and totally isolating himself from the people of Mindanao, especially among the Moro, indigenous peoples and impoverished folk.
Two years into the Duterte regime, Mindanao has become more war-torn and militarized than ever.
His war of destruction in Marawi City has resulted in the large-scale devastation of thousands of hectares of land and the forced displacement of the whole city population. It also paved the way for heightened US military intervention in the region. In partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), US troops were given the go-signal by Duterte to launch indiscriminate aerial bombings and participate in combat military operations during the Marawi siege.
A year after martial law declaration in Mindanao, violence and savagery have become the new normal. Intensified military presence, military occupation of civilian and residential abodes, curfews on peasant communities, restrictions on mobility, curtailment of civil liberties, food blockades, aerial bombardments and harassment by paramilitary and military auxiliary groups have become a daily occurrence, perpetrated by the AFP’s psywar experts masquerading as Peace and Development Teams (PDT) or Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD).
The AFP has intensified attacks on peasant and indigenous communities. Under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao, at least 163 peasants and indigenous people have been killed while 351 were victims of frustrated killings from July 2016 to June 30, 2018. Some 2,000 have been illegally arrested and at least 200 are still in detention for trumped-up criminal charges. These numbers do not include the thousands more victimized by Duterte’s draconian Oplan Tokhang and the crackdown on “tambays.”
More than 60% of AFP combat battalions or at least 75 battalions of the entire AFP force is presently deployed in Mindanao. Of these, no less than 42 AFP combat battalions are currently wreaking havoc in Lumad and peasant communities, while 31 AFP combat battalions are sowing terror in Moro communities. The AFP is rushing to upgrade and deploy its counter-insurgency artillery, communication and surveillance equipment.
In Talaingod, Davao del Norte, an overkill of three battalions have occupied the town’s three small barangays, targeting the Manobo Lumad defending their ancestral land.
Since June, the AFP has conducted massive offensives, ground attacks and aerial bombardments affecting the lives and livelihood of thousands of Moro civilian residents around the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, supposedly targeting the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the area and alleged bomb-making facilities in the Maguindanao and North Cotabato borders. Some 20,000 individuals have been displaced by military offensives in Pagalungan, Datu Montawal, Raja Buayan and SK Pendatun, Maguindanao and Pikit, North Cotabato.
In Duterte’s hometown, Davao City, hundreds of farmers and indigenous people have become victims of “forced surrenders,” and were tagged as New People’s Army (NPA) rebel returnees or NPA sympathizers. The staged surrenders are being used by the AFP to support claims by the AFP’s 10th ID that rural barangays have been “cleared” of the NPA.
With Duterte’s unilateral cancellation of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (GRP-NDFP) and the MILF’s acceptance of Duterte’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), there is no stopping Duterte from employing the US-prescribed counter-insurgency doctrine of waging war and terror on the people as a solution to the ongoing armed conflict.
True to his word, Duterte has kept Mindanao close to his heart – by making it his very own training ground and launching pad for his tyrannical desire to impose nationwide martial law.
By canceling the GRP-NDF peace talks, railroading the BBL and actively pushing for charter change for his pseudo-federalism, Duterte has practically given license to the AFP to carry on with its fascist all-out-war against the people of Mindanao and the whole country.
The AFP has recruited at least 5,000 troops and aims to add an additional 10,000 more until the end of the year, with the aim to employ Marawi-style tactics and attacks against civilian populations in order to claim and control the AFP’s “priority areas,” most of which are in Mindanao.
These priority areas are currently being plundered by big mining corporations and foreign plantations, including large swathes of land reserved for the expansion of palm oil plantations in Marawi and the fossil-rich Liguasan Marsh. Control over Bangsamoro land and natural resources will encourage more investments for the Duterte regime, and consequently, subject the territory to worse economic and environmental plunder.
Despite all these, Duterte still has the gall to declare Mindanao a priority in the “localized peace talks” being promoted by the GRP. The real objective of these fake localized peace talks is for the NPA to surrender, and to deodorize the AFP and obscure its continuing and intensifying abuses and brutal fascist attacks of the military against farmers, the Moro people and other oppressed classes in Mindanao.
The National Democratic Front-Mindanao calls on all people of Mindanao and the Filipino people to reject and resist Duterte’s rising tyrannical rule, the looming proclamation of a nationwide martial law and the perpetuation of the US-Duterte regime’s “all-out-war” against the people.