The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is using pretend Covid-19 relief work in rural communities as a cover and justification for unabated aerial bombardment and relentless counterinsurgency operations. In some cases, the AFP’s relief work exists only in their press releases, when what they are actually conducting are psywar operations in line with the AFP’s oppressive “surrender” drive.
Operating troops of the AFP bring terror greater than the fear of the virus. They bring hardship, not relief, with their checkpoints, curfews and blockades. Worse, they enter the communities without protective equipment nor follow public health protocol raising the probability of spreading the Covid-19 in the once insulated communities.
Hundreds of millions of pesos are being wasted on bombs and bullets, which could be used to give socio-economic relief for millions of Filipinos suffering under Duterte’s military lockdown, as well as for the urgently needed financial support for public health workers, medical facilities and scientific research to develop and produce vaccines and testing equipment.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the latest incident of aerial bombardment in Saranggani province last Sunday, April 19. This is the sixth bombing campaign conducted by the AFP since the Duterte government declared a Covid-19 public health emergency in March 16.
According to local reports, residents of Sitio Kapanal in Barangay Gasi, Kiamba town, were frightened when an AFP airplane dropped at least four bombs in the vicinity of their community at around five in the morning. A number of Lumad peasants were already in their farms when the bombing commenced. The bombing and strafing traumatized the community, especially the children.
The cluster of barangays in Kiamba are currently being occupied by fascist troops under the 27th IB. The AFP claim that their occupation of the communities is part of their Covid-19 relief work. The local battalion commander claim they used close aerial support “to prevent rebels from stealing away relief packages.” Based on the AFP’s statements, it would appear that aerial bombardment is now an imbecilic part of the AFP’s standard procedure in conducting relief work.
In truth, the AFP is merely pretending to conduct Covid-19 response work as an excuse to conduct counterinsurgency operations. As a result, peasants suffer grave from human rights abuses perpetrated by soldiers.