Correspondence Military "quarantine", prison of "surrendered"
 civilians in Surigao del Sur

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

Since units of the 3rd SFB and 75th IB swarmed Surigao del Sur in 2020, more people suffered the brutality of militarization and fell victim to the fake surrender campaign of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Most of them are Lumads.

Under the guise of the Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) and Enhanced Community Livelihood and Integration Program (E-CLIP), soldiers and police go house to house carrying lists of their targets in the fake surrender campaign. Despite not being charged, those on the list are forced to “surrender” and undergo “voluntary detention” in the camp to “clear” their names. They were also promised to be released within three to six months after “clearing” their names. Those who do not surrender are threatened with various charges. Due to fear, some were forced to “surrender” and go into “quarantine” while fabricated cases against them were being processed.

In truth, the military’s “quarantine” comprise individuals associated with an armed movement that the state arbitrarily and baselessly considers “terrorist.” Military forces claim their surrender is “voluntary” since no arrest warrant has been issued against them. Many of them are not brought before courts, have no legal representation and are denied other rights. Such arrests and detentions violate basic civil rights, and even international humanitarian law.

Fake surrenders, illegal and secret arrests and detentions form part of the operationalizations of the fascist Anti-Terror Law. This law allows for the arbitrary listing of anyone as “terrorist,” and for arrest and detention beyond 24 hours without a clear charge.

Military milking cow

Peasant victims are heavily burdened by this scheme that requires them to post bail for trumped-up cases. Many of them are forced to sell their lands and borrow high-interest loans to raise bail ranging from the usual ₱30,000 to ₱120,000.

Despite having posted bail, their ordeal is not yet over. Adding to their suffering is the military pressure to betray their comrades and leaders, to spy on those suspected of being linked with the NPA, and to report if they see signs or NPA camps.

Other victims charged with trumped-up criminal charges such as murder and attempted murder are transferred to the provincial or city jail, where there is no guarantee that they will ever be released.

Financial aid that “surrenderees” are supposed to receive under the E-CLIP are being used by AFP and PNP officials as milking cows. “Surrenderers” did not receive a single centavo from this program. Soldiers pocket more money when they imprison more peasants.

Illegal arrests and detentions aim to undermine the strong unity of the people of Surigao del Sur and end their three-decade struggle and resistance against the entry of logging concessions and foreign mining companies which have long been drooling over the natural resources protected by their ancestral lands.

Military "quarantine", prison of "surrendered"
 civilians in Surigao del Sur