The people shall answer JTFB’s terroristic violence with revolutionary struggle!
The military and police are beyond themselves in hijacking the campaign period to escalate their terroristic attacks in Bikol. At the center of these onslaughts are the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate. This January, an additional battalion, the 96th ‘Alab’ Batallion-PA, was deployed in Masbate. With this deployment comes the successive cases of fake encounters and forced surrender of civilians who have no connection to the revolutionary movement. Meanwhile, in Sorsogon, incidents of assassination of members of progressive groups and cases of illegal arrests and detention of civilians rage out of control.
The Joint Task Force Bicolandia uses the elections to rationalize their presence in the said provinces and other parts of the region. But is it not that every time their forces are deployed in a priority area do cases of abuses, rights violations and lawlessness escalate in these same areas? Since 2016, the most number of political killings and massacre were recorded in Masbate and Sorsogon, two of the priority areas for military and police deployment. There have been no less than 60 cases of extrajudicial killings in Masbate and another 41 cases in Sorsogon. Nine out of the 15 massacres with 53 victims, recorded in the region since the beginning of Duterte’s terms also occurred in Masbate.
However, in the middle of the appalling scale and brutality of these attacks, the murderers and their masters have one critical mistake. They have underestimated the people’s courage, resolve and unity. They thought that they could crush the Bikolanos’ fervor through their fascist terrorism. They have vainly dreamt that the people would just forget and relinquish their arms, hope and aspirations of a society truly free from the tethers of oppression and violence. This is a mortal weakness they can never hope to salvage.
The region’s actual experiences prove that even in the midst of the hardest blows of violence, the people’s struggle shall remain relentless. Every sakyada, every killing, every oppression and abuse are but embers that sharpen the masses’ conviction that only in waging a revolution can they find salvation.
The successful tactical offensives in the region – from the islands of Catanduanes and Masbate to Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Norte hurls JTFB to the reality that their terroristic violence is met, and surpassed even, by the people’s struggle. From areas which they have already complacently categorized as free from the revolutionary movement to areas they have futilely focused their attacks on until now, the whole region is lit up, and will surely burn even brighter, with the torch of the armed revolution and uprising of the masses who shall never be slaves again.