AFP’s “localized talks” camouflage state terrorism
The “localized peace talks” long peddled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are a sham. What we see, in fact, in the rural areas are localized military hamlets where communities are placed under the control of the military. There are no “talks” whatsoever to address the social and economic problems of the people.
“Localized peace talks” exist only in the press releases of the AFP and are conjured to hide from the public view the de facto state of martial law and rampant violations of human rights, especially in the rural areas.
In areas where the AFP suspect people of supporting the New People’s Army, entire populations are placed under military control. The peasant masses and minority people are subjected to food and economic blockades in violation of international humanitarian law. Farmers who need to work in their their fields or mountain farms are restricted. People are subjected to surveillance, interrogations and threats. Arbitrary arrests or abductions, torture, massacres and extrajudicial killings are becoming common in places under the AFP’s control.
The “surrender drive” to force people to disband their organizations wholesale violate the people’s rights.
These are the same tactics applied during martial law, as well as in the US war in Vietnam, in which people are subjected to state terrorism. In combat operations, the AFP drop bombs and fire artillery near communities, in the fields and forests, to terrorize the local population and destroy their livelihood.
These tactics are used in areas where people are being driven away from their farm and ancestral land to give way to the entry or expansion of foreign-owned mining operations and plantations.
To the people of Davao City, the “peace zone” established by Sara Duterte and the AFP is equivalent to land grabbing by banana and cacao plantation owners. In the guise of giving away individual land titles, land under the collective ownership of agrarian reform communities and managed by farmers cooperatives are being dismantled to make it easier for multinational companies to put pressure on individuals to give up their ownership.
Over the past five years (since Duterte unilaterally terminated peace negotiations with the NDFP in 2017), the AFP has fooled zero local NPA unit or local Party committee with their “localized peace talk” rhetoric. All revolutionary forces are firmly united behind the policy that all negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) will be conducted at the national level. This policy is based on the fact that the roots of the ongoing armed conflict or civil war are not local and encompasses the entire country.