Similar to what have been done under previous regimes, amidst the failure of its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to effect the surrender of Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA), this administration has resorted to a deceitful and idiotic move of forcing large numbers of civilians to surrender. Driven by the military officers’ desire to reach the quota for the number of surrenderees in order to get promoted and ensure sources of corruption, ordinary civilians and members of legitimate peasant and Lumad organizations are also being forced to surrender.
Last November 10, the 401st and 402nd Infantry Brigades (Bde), Philippine Army (PA) paraded the purported 96 rebel returnees to show off the awarding of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) in Surigao del Sur. Majority of these alleged surrenderees however, were civilians and former members of the NPA who have long left the movement. Even the 219 displayed as having surrendered in Surigao del Sur, were also mostly civilians. It is true that there were eight (8) who surrendered to the enemy, bringing with them firearms, in the region this year. But most of them were victims of deceit and pressure from the enemy over their families.
Battalion officers in the region are showing off and competing against each other on the number of their surrenderees like Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin of the 75th IB and Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad of the 36th IB, for them to be promoted and become full colonels and generals. The same goes with BGen. Andres Centiño of the 401st Brigade and BGen. Franco Gacal of the 402nd Brigade who both want to be promoted as division commanders. These are the reasons why even hunting rifles used by farmers and the Lumad become the basis for civilians to be considered as members of the Milisyang Bayan (MB). Farmers suspected of being NPA sympathizers, and were threatened with criminal charges, who wanted to clear their names are counted as surenderees. The relatives and parents of Red fighters summoned by the military are also regarded as surrenderees.
They (military), including the PNP, fight over who can effect the surrender of NPA “commanders” to gain merits for their evaluation for promotion and as sources of corruption. Thus, even former members or known leaders of NPA units are being forced to surrender. These officials and their intelligence agents connive to obtain the bounties for the capture of these former NPA members. They pocket large amounts of money from these, aside from the funds they take from the ECLIP and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Peace Process (OPAPP). They are deceiving their government, President Duterte and themselves.
On the other hand, ECLIP, showcased by the US-Duterte regime but no different from the programs for “rebel returnees” of the previous administrations, will only result in corruption and promotion of military officers. The program is nothing but mere show meant to deceive and cash in on. Like politicians during elections, upon the realization of their ambitions, the promises disappear and they become more rich while the people remain poor.
ECLIP is deceitful and demeaning. The government claims to ensure that former rebels receive employment, free housing, free hospitalization, educational assistance for their children, cash assistance and avail of the 4Ps, avail of loans to start businesses and other incentives. ECLIP is comparable to a sweet talking swindler uttering nothing but lies. The US-Duterte regime is unable to solve the joblessness of close to 10 million; homelessness of millions, the inability of millions of the youth to attain college education; contractualization and low wages of millions of workers; high prices of goods; inability of millions of those sick to afford hospitalization; landlessness, high land rent and interest rates of loans of millions of farmers; and many more. Does this mean that they are also using the name of the NPA to profit?
The forced surrender of civilians and ECLIP are part of (Duterte’s) propaganda and psychological operation and implemented while launching massive military operations meant to annihilate the NPA. The US-Duterte regime has no plans of sincerely solving the root causes of the continuing five-decade civil war in the Philippines. If these are not seriously addressed, the surrender program will only continue to be sources of corruption of military officers under whichever regime. This is but another burden taken from the people’s taxes.
Recall that every Philippine regime from Marcos to Noynoy Aquino, all boasted but failed to annihilate the NPA under their administration. The same is happening to the US-Duterte regime which bragged but failed to annihilate the NPA within the year. The NPA and the revolutionary forces under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), successfully overcame the brutal attacks of the AFP and PNP despite the support of the imperialist US, for 50 years. The armed strength of the NPA has endured and the revolutionary movement will continue to advance in the region and the entire country.
The NPA is fully committed to wholeheartedly serve the people and advance their national and democratic interests for genuine land reform and national industrialization against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The true revolutionaries and Red fighters of the New People’s Army will never surrender and kneel to any fascist, puppet and reactionary regime.
Long live the New People’s Army!!
Celebrate with pride the 50th anniversary of the CPP!