NDF-SMR orders revolutionary forces to mobilize for relief and rehab, hits US-Duterte regime’s fascism in earthquake-hit areas

 

In the wake of last week’s series of earthquake disaster, the National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao has ordered all revolutionary forces to extend all forms of relief to the tens of thousands of victims and actively resist and defy the US-Duterte regime’s insistence to turn the disaster into yet another of its counterinsurgency offensive.

We commiserate with all the relatives of the victims, especially those whose family members were killed in the aftermath of the tragedies. We are one with the masses in the towns and cities of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato who have lost their homes and possessions. We are currently mobilizing all means of relief and support in order to ease their suffering and hasten the restoration of their livelihood.

Meanwhile, Malacañang’s designation of Department of National Defense secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana to lead the reactionary regime’s relief drive is an affront to the victims and exacerbates the latter’s already dire condition. In the hardest hit towns and cities of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato, victims are being forced to validate and justify their status as victims, or else subjected to vexing searches and interrogations that restrict their ability to seek help and refuge.

Additional checkpoints currently pepper North Cotabato: in Antipas town, at least two additional checkpoints; in Pres. Roxas town, two additional checkpoints; in Magpet, three additional checkpoints; and in Makilala town, three more checkpoints have been set-up. In Kidapawan City, aside from the existing checkpoints mounted around the city, no less than 7 additional checkpoints have been set-up by AFP and PNP forces.

However, even in the face of the US-Duterte regime’s bullheaded campaign to militarize the conduct of their disorganized and limited relief operations, mass organizations, Party branches and NPA units are able to extend aid and conduct consolidation work among victims reeling from the disaster.

In many base areas and guerilla zones, revolutionary forces, NPA units at the forefront, conduct relief operations in hardest hit areas of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. Mass organizations and allies extend food relief and other materials to victims. Red fighters assist in the repair of homes and farms and in salvaging crops of farmers in hinterland areas.

We urge all human rights organizations and advocates to challenge the US-Duterte’s militarist posturing in the face of this humanitarian crisis and investigate the situation of victims in evacuation centers in Davao del and North Cotabato. All forms and means of aid and relief must directly reach victims as soon as possible. Until now, basic services, especially potable water, are becoming very scarce in Kidapawan City and Makilala town. The apologists, trolls and spin doctors of the US-Duterte regime are fomenting discord in traditional and social media, all the while botching up relief operations with senseless checkpoints, corruption-laden red tape and patronage politics.

Furthermore, we urge all NPA units, Party branches, revolutionary mass organizations and allies to continue their relief operations especially in the hinterland areas which always receive next to nothing from the reactionary government in times of calamities. Most importantly, all efforts of rehabilitation in areas affected by the earthquake must commence or continue without delay. Revolutionary forces must take lessons from our rich experiences during Typhoon Pablo and other succeeding natural disasters in mobilizing our forces to take initiative in our rehabilitation efforts.

The US-Duterte regime’s fascist handling of the relief operations in keeping with the implementation of martial law in Mindanao is not only pointless but also hinders maximum participation of all well-meaning individuals and organizations. These so-called checkpoints and demand for relief organizations to be vetted as “legitimate and authorized,” to be sure, are clearly a shameless ploy to ensure optimum corruption while victims are left short-changed. Yet again, the October earthquake tragedies point to the need to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao.