By JORGE MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP Mindanao Chapter
December the 10th annually commemorates the International Day of Human Rights as declared by the United Nations in 1948. It is however sad to note that this year, 2014, human rights violations committed by the US-Aquino III regime has escalated in the entire island of Mindanao.
The human rights abuses have been carried out by the puppet regime as a blood offering upon the altar of super profit for the big comprador bourgeois, big landlords and their imperialist master.
It is also most unfortunate that a number of civilians have figured unintendedly in an ambush carried out by a unit of the New People’s Army – Northeast Mindanao Region in Rosario, Agusan del Sur, against a notorious armed barangay captain, together with his escorts, a cadreman and CAFGU members.
The Spokesperson of the NDFP-NEMR has already made clear the circumstances that led to the incident, which also included an apology and the commitment to indemnify the civilian victims. Despite this incident however, NDFP-Mindanao has again emphasized its complete adherence to the signed documents between the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP/GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), particularly the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law, or CARHRIHL. It is inherent of the reactionary regime to commit human rights violations to terrorize the people and stymie their resistance.
These human rights violations are carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (AFP-PNP-CAFGU) in the name of the economic interests of the ruling elite such as big scale mining, plantations, the energy business and others. From only around 50% in 2013, this year, the AFP has deployed 60% of its forces to Mindanao.
The increase in the number of AFP mercenaries in the island is to protect the investments of the imperialists and the local ruling classes, even if this means the escalation of human rights violations in the island.
The regime also dreams of ending both the armed and non-armed resistance of the people of Mindanao, but contrary to this, the people’s protest movement has broadened and the armed resistance of the NPA and the Bangsamoro has intensified and gained strength.
There has been a significant increase in the number of human rights violations committed by the AFP-PNP-CAFGU in different areas in Mindanao. The incidents of extra-judicial killings have stepped-up to 103 this year. Usually, the AFP outrightly denies committing most of these grisly murders, if not falsely blame them on the NPA or fabricate falsehoods such as claiming their civilian victims to be NPA members.
There have also been cases where the AFP have intentionally killed their own CAFGU elements whom they suspect of disloyalty and attribute the killings to the NPA.
This year, the number of civilians leveled with trumped up cases of murder, arson, rebellion and other serious criminal charges have increased to 233. This is evidently meant to paralyze legal mass organizations who actively demand for fundamental social reforms and protest against the malfeasance within the reactionary government.
The incidences of displaced barangay (village) communities in the entire island due to heavy shelling, aerial bombings and strafing have also increased.
There have also been countless cases of community schools being burned down, destroyed or forcibly occupied by mercenary elements of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU. The AFP’s psywar operations, through Community Organizing for Peace and Development, Peace and Development Team, or Re-engineered Special Operations Team (COPD, PDT, RSOT), are leading in the commission of human rights violations in barrios or communities.
They have occupied barrio centers and people’s houses, controlled the flow of people coming in and going out of villages, limited the time for farming, forced the men to enlist in the CAFGU, and abused women, aside from bringing back gambling and the proliferation of illicit drugs in many communities where these have already been eliminated due to campaigns undertaken by the revolutionary movement.
They have forcibly organized counter-revolutionary organizations, such as the “alsa masa”.
The COPD has also been launched in schools and communities in the urban areas.
Because of the imminent danger posed by the brutality of these military butchers, numerous Lumad and peasant communities have been forced to evacuate to safer areas, and, from there, protest against this intensifying militarization. The dire inequities brought on by the socio-economic system in Mindanao and in the entire country are in themselves vile forms of human rights violations. Foremost of these is the continued outright refusal of the US-Aquino regime to implement genuine agrarian reform, where instead of undertaking this, it has given favor to vast plantations planted with pineapple, banana, oil palm and other cash-crops owned by big landlords, big bourgeois comprador and imperialists such as Dole Phil, Del Monte Phil, Sumifru, FPPI and others.
Instead of defending the interests of Lumads, Moro, peasants and workers, it has given priority to the interests of the monopoly capitalists of large-scale mining, who have for many years, plundered our natural resources and ravaged the environment.
The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people to join and strengthen their open resistance against escalating human rights violations in Mindanao and the entire nation.
It is imperative that we strengthen the New People’s Army because this is our sole weapon to smash and put an end to the human rights violations of the fascist US-Aquino III regime.