Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Philippine military reacts on Solidarity Mission reports, OB list

CPP/NPA demoralized, ISM on the rescue.

Press Release
May 19, 2009

The International Solidarity Mission (ISM) came in town to rescue the demoralized CPP/NPA in the area, and raised recycled communist propaganda to disrupt our operations.

The 10th Infantry Division is gaining more support from the local executives and the populace who are tired of the CPP/NPA’s anti-development and criminal activities.

The BDS: effective against CPP/NPA

The Local Government Code (RA 7160) provides the legal basis for the Barangay Defense System (BDS). Section 387 provides that a barangay may organize its own Lupong Tagapamayapa to ensure peace and order in the community. Further, as the need arises, the barangay may organize community brigades or similar organization that can help in facilitating the peace and order in their barangay.

The establishment of a BDS is initiated by the barangay populace through its barangay council. It comes from a collective realization that a common requirement for peace and order can be best achieved through collective but voluntary participation.

It has a historical perspective, tracing back to the ancient times of the Romans, when ordinary citizens would normally work during the day, but would come to the defense of their country (community) when their security was under threat.

The BDS also comes from a practical perspective. Though it is the mandate of the AFP and PNP to protect the community, they can better perform their mandate when their functions are complemented with community participation.

The BDS is unarmed, and it is neither designed nor capable to fight the insurgents, contrary to the allegations of its detractors. What the BDS provides is an organizational structure that promotes continuing awareness of people’s responsibility to actively assist in peace and order, by active monitoring and reporting of suspicious criminal elements in the community. What is wrong with that?

The BDS is under attack by the CPP/NPA because it has insulated the barangays from communist infiltration/re-infiltration. Barangays previously affected by CPP/NPA deception, agitation and coercion and with established BDS have become immune from re-infiltration, owing to people’s participation in community defense and arising from their awareness of the communist menace.

The CPP/NPA, through its front organizations, is very vocal against the BDS because the BDS has caused them to lose their mass bases, where they used to get their logistical and other needs. The increasing number of surrenderees can be directly attributed to the BDS.

For 2009 so far, 71 NPAs have surrendered to 10th ID. Likewise the increasing flow of information from the communities have enabled the military/police to react more effectively to reports of insurgent presence, resulting in increased encounters that caused casualties mostly from the rebel side.

In short, the BDS has proven to be one of the most effective countermeasures against the CPP/NPA. Clearly, the reaction of the front organizations against the BDS betrays their links to the CPP/NPA.

The BDS is also a mechanism where the community responds to all forms of criminality and help in all endeavors of the community such as disaster rescue and relief efforts. The BDS can also be a forum for noble advocacies such as care for the environment, sanitation and the like.

As long as the people see the need for a structure like the BDS for their security and well-being, they will support it, and it is government’s duty to ensure that the people gets all the support and the protection, mainly from the military and the police, and the local governments, so that their aspirations for peace and security can be achieved.

Order of Battle (OB) is not a target list

As to the purported document that details the tagging and killings, it is preposterous and unbelievable, for how can we document something that does not exist? The allegation is nothing but recycled communist propaganda.

While we deny that the alleged document, distributed by Satur Ocampo to various media outfits, is from 10ID, it is a fact that some militant groups are indeed under the United Front of the CPP. This was declared by no less than Jose Maria Sison many years ago in a video taken in Utrecht, Netherlands. Likewise, rebel surrenderees for the past decades have proven such alliance.

The 10ID has its Order of Battle, and it is not for public consumption. It requires thorough confirmation and validation from different law enforcement agencies, and from various sectors and stakeholders who are the ones providing the information about the people and organizations that may in one way or the other, wittingly or unwittingly, become involved in the CPP’s grand design.

An “order of battle” does not target individuals; it is mainly an assessment of the general threat to national security. What the ISM presented is not a list of targets, but that is how they want the public to see it, so that unsolved/unexplained killings can be attributed to the military. They presented the list to create confusion and paranoia and eventually agitate the people to go against the military.

“Ambush me”

A certain Liza Alo, a former union leader, was reportedly ambushed. Reliable reports revealed that she was a union leader a long time ago and her organization had long been inactive until the time the ISM arrived in COMVAL.

When asked, she is not even sure if the three people on board the motorcycle were chasing her. Alo said that she did not report the incident because she does not trust the authorities, but she “volunteered” to be interviewed by media. Looks like it was an “ambush” that only she knows, but her story landed in the ISM report.

The CPP/NPA admitted killing many civilians on mere suspicion and without due process. It is the CPP/NPA that has adopted a policy using violence, atrocities and lies.

The ISM is a solidarity of front organizations and simply aimed against 10ID and it was designed to assist the CPP/NPA. Amidst that, the troops under 25th Infantry Battalion assisted them by providing security. In fact, Diwata Barangay Captain Franco Tito said that he posed for posterity, and exchanged pleasantries with the ISM delegates and the soldiers and he saw the activities in the area culminated well without any untoward incident, contrary to the ISM report.

The CPP/NPA is almost dismantled in Region XI that is why they have to organize a high profile “mission” to drum up these issues. They failed miserably to catch people’s attention.

They did not see or feel the support of the people that is why they have to resort to this recycled matter on the military target list. Instead of continuing the armed struggle, the CPP must accept defeat now, and heed the call for peace and reconciliation, so that our country can move forward.

The freedom of these groups to air their stand on various issues is proof that democracy is very much alive, that government tolerates dissent, and that there is no policy to neutralize them.

"10th ID priority thrusts"

The 10th ID focuses its efforts on neutralizing only the NPA, particularly by inviting the NPA to avail the Social Integration Program (SIP) of the government, wherein former rebels get financial and livelihood assistance in exchange for their firearm and for leaving the movement.

Likewise, day-in, day- out, the troops of 10ID are busy helping communities through development projects. The 10ID reiterates its call for the local CPP/NPA members to avail of the government programs that will help them start normal, productive lives in our democratic society.

Chief, Division Public Affairs Office
10th Infantry (AGILA) Division, Philippine Army
Davao City

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