Bringing back Alsa Masa will result in more rights abuses

In pushing for the arming of groups to supposedly fight the New People’s Army, what Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Interior Sec. Eduardo Año wants is to bring back the Alsa Masa vigilante group of the late 1980s which was notorious for extrajudicial killings, abuse of power and terrorizing civilians in Agdao, Davao City.

In the 1980s, the AFP pushed for the formation of fanatical vigilante groups in line with the US-doctrine of “low intensity conflict” purportedly to pit the civilian community against the NPA. This systematized and intensified efforts to form different types of armed vigilantes supported by the AFP which was used under Marcos’ martial law.

These anti-communist fanatical groups were responsible for brutal massacres and killings of people on the pretext of fighting the NPA. Many of the victims were social activists, community organizers as well as priests and religious people.

Bringing back Alsa Masa-like armed vigilante groups will surely result in more abuses of human rights and attacks against civilians. This will only serve to further boost the murderous spree of the state security forces under Duterte’s order. It will surely be used by Duterte and his minions as a weapon in the upcoming 2022 elections.

As history has shown, organizing these armed vigilante groups, mostly composed of anti-social and criminal elements linked to the military and police, will fail to stop the growth of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s resistance. If any, it will only further rouse the people to take up arms to defend themselves against the armed oppression of Duterte’s terrorist state.

With the recent acquisition of firearms, the AFP has now a surplus of rifles and other weapons, which Duterte now wants to use to provision to his fanatical armed vigilantes. If Duterte succeeds in his plan, the NPA will have an additional target for its tactical offensives in order to take these weapons away from the hands of the fascists and put them to good use to defend the people.

Bringing back Alsa Masa will result in more rights abuses