Friday, June 14, 2013

Let facts and people decide who’s telling the truth: An NPA Rejoinder against Philippine Government Reactions and Accusations

From the Website of PRWC CPP-NPA-NDF

Let facts and people decide who’s telling the truth: An NPA Rejoinder against Philippine Government Reactions and Accusations

Diego Wadagan
Agustin Begnalen Command (NPA-Abra)
June 11, 2013

It is surprising that officials of the Philippine Government act so swiftly to redeem their credibility, even as they act at a snail’s pace in providing social services and free education and in addressing the root causes of poverty and revolution. The headline news on June 10, 2013, bannering the NPA’s skepticism on Peace Talks under the regime of Benigno Aquino Jr. barely reached the far flung areas of the countryside, but the government apologists, propagandists and fascists have already scampered to media outlets.

It is because of their own misdeeds that they have to turn heaven and earth to redeem themselves. The facts are: (1) they scuttled the current peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH because they cannot abide by previous agreements regarding the conduct and process of the peace talks; (2) the AFP bombed farmlands in Malibcong, Abra; (3) government apologists and propagandists are ignorant, to state it tamely, of international laws and conventions pertaining to war and the conduct of war; and (4) AFP officials and some local and national government officials lied and continue to lie about real casualties and violators in the conduct of the 44 years of national democratic revolution waged by the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH), through their official representatives, have agreed and signed vital documents pertaining to the Peace Talks between the NDFP and the GPH such as “The Hague Declaration”, the “Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” and the “Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL).” These documents defined the conduct and order of the Peace Negotiations including the venue/s of the negotiations, security of those involved in the negotiations, the proper conduct of the civil war while both sides are engaged in negotiations, and the principles and guidelines in advancing the negotiations from one stage to the other; it was presumed clear to both sides that after the exploratory phase and the laying down of conducive conditions, substantive talks are to be undertaken to develop a “Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER)”, and only after these can the cessation of hostilities, disarmament and redeployment of armed forces be tackled and agreed upon. These documents are open to the public and can serve as reference for serious and sincere peace advocates.

On May 30-31, 2013, the AFP dropped bombs in farmlands of Barangays Gacab, Duldulao, Umnap, Buanao, and Lat-ey in Malibcong Abra. Bombs are bombs, and no amount of technical explanation or excuse can cover-up these clear human rights violation. AFP officials from the lowly Captain Libnao, the 503rd Brigade’s Civil-Military Officer, to the Brigadier Generals such as Domingo Tutaan, the AFP Spokesperson, and Hernando Irriberi, the 503rd Brigade’s Commanding Officer, have all tried in vain to belittle this terroristic act by the AFP of bombing innocent civilians.

Captain Libnao said that “these were not bombs but rockets,” and that “these rockets contain white phosphorus.” Sadly for Captain Libnao, even a kid can say that there is no big difference between a bomb and a rocket, and a quick internet research will reveal that white phosphorus is the basic component of incendiary bombs. Captain Libanao further said in a radio interview that the two (2) female teenagers did not suffer psychological trauma but rather “nagulat lang” (frightened).

The Generals and a Colonel did not do better than their poor Captain. What is the difference between “close air support” and “air strike?!!!” The fact is these “rockets exploded white phosphorus”, to use the term of Captain Libnao, terrifying the local population, damaging properties, and causing psychological trauma particularly to two (2) female teenagers who were just 40 meters away from one of the explosion sites. Is a rocket dropped or released from an aircraft “not an aerial bombardment” as claimed by Brig. Gen. Tutaan?! Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office, further claims that these bombings “are legitimate”, directly admitting that terrorizing civilians are considered legitimate acts by the AFP.

Brig. Gen. Irriberi claimed to have received a report from Mayor Benido Bacuyag that “there were no civilian casualties as a result of the air strike.” Irreberi and Tutaan should first agree if the bombing was an “air strike” or “close air support”, but more importantly, Irriberi should stop misquoting the good mayor of Malibcong, Benido Bacuyag, and just open his transistor radio and listen to complaints of the people, or better yet go to the field and talk to the terrified people they indiscriminately bombed. The people of Malibcong are asking the Philippine Government’s Commission on Human Rights to investigate the incident, and have filed affidavits of the two teenagers.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles cannot be outdone; she had to say her piece. Taking her cue from Brig. Gen. Irriberi, she takes the sly act further when she said that “If the NPA insists that two teenagers were injured, could it be that they were not civilians but NPA child soldiers?” Again, we challenge Irriberi and Deles to go to the field and check their facts.

Furthermore, Deles enumerated a list of so-called human rights violations committed by the NPA. This list will have different meanings, depending on one’s perspective and standpoint, or one’s deep knowledge, expected from government officials and dignitaries.

Take the case of the so-called IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). The NPFP adheres to International Conventions against the use of pressure-detonated explosive devices that may indiscriminately explode, and injure or kill non-military targets. The NPA employs command-detonated explosive devices triggered to explode at-will against definite and legitimate military and police targets; this should not be interchanged with land mines, banned worldwide because of the massive production, sale and use by the US Armed Forces and their clients that victimized millions of civilians. All armed AFP, PNP, and para-military forces of the Philippine Government are legitimate targets in the civil war.

Other accusations are outright fabrications or a question of perspective or viewpoint. Collection of taxes and law enforcement is a prerogative of a state or government, whether dominant or emergent. Revolutionary taxation, NPA checkpoints and arrests, among others, are assertions and acts of an emergent revolutionary government. From the point of view of the dominant state challenged by the emergent government, these are “cruel and senseless acts of violence, ” as stated by Teresita Deles.

The AFP lied a lot about the May 30 firefights between the NPA and the 41st IB. There were only 2 firefights; not 3 as claimed by the 503rd Brigade, or 5 as claimed Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala. There is no NPA casualty and no firearm or documents were recovered, contrary to the claim of the AFP that an M16 rifle was seized, complete with a serial number to make their claim more credible. Three soldiers were immediately taken to Baquiran Funeral Parlor in Bangued, Abra on May 30, contrary to the AFP’s claim that they suffered no casualties. On the other hand, the AFP resorts to the standard “dead NPA’s were dragged away by their comrades as shown by blood stains”, and “an unknown body of an NPA has yet to be identified.”

Government officials, such as Edwin Lacierda and Teresita Deles are claiming that Peace negotiations have protracted due to CPP-NPA-NDF’s insincerity. We say that the peace negotiations will continue to protract for as long as the Philippine Government is firm in their capitulation scheme and does not have the political will to sincerely address the socio-economic roots of the people’s war.

The Peace Process cannot proceed as long as the Aquino Regime remains at the behest of the imperialists, compradors and big landlords, and as long as Government Officials in-charge of Peace Negotiations, and fascists continue to have a dominant position in government and policy.



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