Civilian authorities must address justice for beheaded former Red fighter Army loses humanity with its growing list of abuse and violence

More than a celebration of their supposed victory against the New People’s Army, the Northern Luzon Command’s seemingly inoffensive, if not gloating, May 5 statement is merely a vain attempt to hide the blood on their hands.

The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front condemns the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division for the most heinous human rights violations committed in its conduct of military operations. Not contented with indiscriminate strafing and bombing of civilian areas in Kalinga last March, the Army stepped up their game of violence by decapitating and dismembering a former member of the NPA. The former Red fighter has long resigned from armed service but this did not stop elements of the Army not just from killing him but also treating him and his remains in the most inhumane manner. Nothing about these violations, of course, is mentioned in the Nolcom’s `stirring plea’ for Red fighters to lay down arms and surrender to the fascist authorities.

The CPDF renounces the Army, not only for helping maintain the status quo but also for using excessive violence in doing so. His rights as a civilian should have been respected. And clearly, in this age of local and international humanitarian laws governing the conduct of war, there is nothing that could justify hacking off his hand and beheading him. Soldiers have lost their humanity if they could commit crimes as senseless and as gruesome as this. Even tribal leaders would lecture them that during tribal wars, it is enough to kill your enemy. Not even animals are this violent with their natural enemies. It is unbelievable that the Army still thinks it can enjoin Red fighters to surrender to them after what they did to a former member.

The tone itself of the Nolcom’s statement is replete with lies and deceit. Addressing the `remaining members’ of the unit to imply that the NPA is already standing on its last legs is an overused trick. For how many administrations now, the PA and the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines had crowed about being one step away from victory over the NPA. And yet, the latter remains as the army of the people, scores small to decisive victories against the much bigger Army of the oppressor and continues to frustrate both US governments and local lackeys in Malacañang.

The people’s democratic revolution being waged in the countryside, including the mountain ranges of the Cordillera, is a just and necessary war. It would not have survived this long if the indigenous peoples, peasants, workers and intellectuals do not recognize the basis of this war. Soldiers can lose their humanity by continuing to use undue violence but the Red fighters will never lose theirs as long as they serve the people and the revolution that will free the masses from their chains.

The CPDF thus challenges civilian authorities to condemn and address the rampant human rights violations happening in the Cordilleras. Any self-respecting leader, from the ranks of the tribes and communities to the civilian government, must uphold and respect the dignity of human life. Promote human rights and dignity by standing up for your kakailian and anyone who genuinely advocates for indigenous rights! ###

Justice for the Cordillera people and all human rights abuse victims!

Stop militarization in the countryside! Hold 5th Infantry Division accountable for its crimes!

Kakailian, agsalaknib! Kumameng iti Soldados ti Umili!

Army loses humanity with its growing list of abuse and violence