The Armed Forces of the Philippines is relentlessly fabricating stories to justify its counterinsurgency campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic. Among its biggest lies was the false information peddled by the 8th ID that Red fighters “robbed” the food aid intended for residents of Sitio Bangon, Guinmaayohan in Balangiga, Samar on April 7.
Even town officials belied this story. In a report published by the Eastern Samar News Service on April 11, local officials including the town mayor, those who were distributing relief goods, and even the chief of police denied such an incident took place in the area.
Despite this, the 8th ID has insisted on peddling this story. On April 13, it compelled the local government of Balangiga to issue a resolution condemning the action of the NPA. However, local officials refused to comply with the order of the military to declare that Red fighters “forcibly took” or “robbed” the food aid and just said that they just “took a portion” of it.
Meanwhile, the AFP is using aid distribution as a guise for counterinsurgency. In Sorsogon, the 31st IB which is currently occupying a certain village in Bulusan attempted to take over the distribution of relief goods which were solicited by barangay officials. The soldiers wanted to grab the credit and take photos of each beneficiary. The barangay officials refused to hand them over the aid and confronted the soldiers instead.
The opposite is happening in Bukidnon. Twenty-five barangays and Lumad communities in Cabanglasan and San Fernando were denied aid just because the military accused these of being NPA bases. Before the pandemic, the NTF-ELCAC used the said areas as showcase of its E-CLIP program. Instead of providing aid, soldiers further tightened restrictions imposed on residents.