The New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines for accusing it of atrocities in the COVID-19 crisis. “The NPA is not on the offensive against Duterte government forces nor snatching COVID-19 aid packages,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, spokesperson of the Efren Martires Command. “Even local officials in Balangiga, Eastern Samar are denying allegations by the military that the NPA seized relief packages, proving that such charges are barefaced lies.
“The NPA is complying with its unilateral ceasefire that is also in response to the global ceasefire urged by the United Nations over the COVID-19 pandemic. The NPA however is on high alert and always ready to defend the people, because of repeated treacherous combat operations by the AFP under the smokescreen of an anti-COVID campaign.
“It is the AFP that is violating its own ceasefire, makes a mockery of the UN’s plea for humanitarian consideration, and adding to the people’s burden as the main instrument of the militarist, incompetent, corrupt and useless lockdown imposed by the Duterte regime.”
The spokesperson of the NPA regional command also dismissed the anti-COVID efforts of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army as “sugarcoated counterinsurgency.” “In reality, the 8th ID never followed the ceasefire declaration of the Duterte government and thus expose it as a sham. The fascist troops went on performing combat, intelligence and psywar operations under the pretense of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Moreover, these fascist intruders in the rural areas may be spreading COVID-19 instead of stopping it. The soldiers monitor and cow the people through checkpoints, but the fascist troops do not take precautions and are themselves potential health hazards through their continuing military operations. It should be noted an Army lieutenant recently died in Bulacan ostensibly from COVID-19.”
Ka Karlos Manuel said the Duterte government should stop wasting people’s money on counterinsurgency and should spend these instead on mass testing for COVID-19 and socio-economic measures for the people. “The working people in rural and urban areas are outraged at the Duterte regime’s lockdown and the dismal efforts to alleviate the people’s plight despie the already precarious livelihood of the majority. We agree with the proposal of Rep. Edcel Lagman to sell the golf courses of the military to fund the anti-COVID campaign. In addition, the Duterte government should stop its counterinsurgency campaign and rechannel the billions that will be saved into fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The Duterte regime can then stop being an international pariah over its human rights violations, save lives instead of unleashing death squads against alleged drug addicts and communists, and resume peace negotiations to resolve the root causes of the armed conflict.
“Otherwise, the people have no other way except their collective unity struggle to surmount both the COVID-19 pandemic and the fascist, corrupt and puppet Duterte regime.”#