Duterte is using Covid-19 crisis to justify fascist attacks and railroad a fascist dictatorship — CPP Regional Committee – NCMR
The Communist Party of the Philippines Regional Committee in North Central Mindanao Region (CPP Regional Committee-NCMR) condemns in strongest terms the schemes being brandished by the Duterte regime to justify fascist attacks on the people and railroad measures to install a fascist dictatorship under the guise of public health management in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Duterte regime has unleashed one preposterous lie after another to cover-up numerous blatant violations of its own ceasefire declaration from March 14 to April 15, 2020. Currently, the regime is on a rampant fake news spree alleging that New People’s Army (NPA) units have attacked so-called non-combat military operations in far-flung rural areas in light of the pandemic. Contrary to fake news, however, there was no let-up on the AFP-PNP’s combat operations and offensives against the NPA despite the ceasefire and the Covid-19 crisis.
On March 15, AFP troops conducting so-called community operations in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur indiscriminately opened fire on residents who were on their way to the local market. On the same day, six farmers were illegally “picked-up for questioning” by military elements. They remain missing to this day. All victims hail from Sitio Canada, Brgy. Balagnan, a community forced to “bakwit (evacuate)” to neighboring towns due to heightened militarization in the area.
Unfortunately, these residents no longer have homes to return to. On March 16, as a result of the AFP’s continued combat operations despite the ongoing ceasefire, they suffered a mis-encounter resulting in at least five casualties from their own ranks. To save face and in retaliation, the military troops then attacked and burned empty houses and property in Sitio Canada, including a community elementary school.
On March 18, elements of the AFP’s 8th IB raided an NPA unit holding camp in Sitio Bendum, Brgy. Busdi, Malaybalay, Bukidnon. This was followed by a series of aerial bombings and artillery shelling by the Philippine Air Force and 4th ID in the vicinity of Lumad communities in Sitio Mandahikan, Brgy. Canangaan, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on March 27 and March 29. At 2:00 in the morning on March 29, the AFP also bombed and raided an NPA unit in Little Baguio, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
Terrorized townsfolk had also reported of troop deployment and intensified military operations in Brgy. Kibongcog and Brgy. Poblacion, San Fernando; Brgy. Concepcion, Valencia; Brgy. Bulonay and Brgy. Kalabugao, Impasugong; Santa Filomena, Quezon; Brgy. Busdi, Caburacanan, Manalog; Saint Peter and Zamboaguita, Malaybalay City; and, Brgy. Poblacion, Cabanglasan. Rocket canyons have also been poised for attack in Sitio Nursery, Brgy. Concepcion and Sitio Salaysay, Brgy. Santa Filomena.
Despite the Covid-19 crisis, fascist troops continue to terrorize rural communities through so-called “community support programs” in the guise of “delivery of service” that are nothing but smokescreens for their TRIAD (combat, psywar and intelligence) operations. The armed presence of military troops disrupt the lives and livelihoods of the people, forcing them to flee their homes and farmlands. They intimidate the peasant masses, accuse them of being “NPA supporters” and stage fake surrenders. They install checkpoints, impose curfews and population control – including an irrational, impractical and unproductive 3-hour work limit for farmers. They conduct artillery shelling and aerial bombings near communities, traumatizing the civilian population, especially the children and elderly.
These operations have since intensified, with the Covid-19 crisis being utilized by the military as a convenient excuse to further militarize rural and peasant communities. Since the pandemic broke, the military had established at least six new CAFGU detachments in Sitio San Jose, Brgy. Maasin, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur; Brgy. Balagnan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur; Sitio Kipunay, Brgy. Eureka, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental; Sitio Pangagpungan, Brgy. Kalabuan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur; and, Sitio Mahayag, Brgy. Namnam, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
Duterte is taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to railroad schemes to install authoritarian rule. Through the military lockdown, Duterte has put the entire country under tighter military and police control and further strengthened nationwide undeclared martial law. He now enjoys emergency powers that has granted him billions of pesos at his behest, and the authority to take control of private companies by way of invoking public health sanctions.
Duterte’s schemes to transform the entire government machinery into a civic-military junta are further legitimized through his appointment of NTF-ELCAC’s retired generals into the Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). It also comes as no surprise that Duterte’s super majority in Congress is now resurrecting charter change, the passage of the Human Security Act and the National ID System, among others, all still under the guise of public health and crisis management.
Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the people of NCMR have long expressed discontent over the regime’s inutility in providing relief in times of calamities and addressing basic economic concerns. In CARAGA, the second poorest region the country, the people, especially the masses of workers and peasants, have been dragged deeper into crisis by the Covid-19 pandemic. Marawi City remains a ghost town three years after Duterte and the AFP’s brutal siege, its people still pleading with the government for relief and rehabilitation of their homes, livelihood and hard-earned properties. Elsewhere in the region, the people are increasingly hungry and angered by exposed bureaucratic and military corruption. They denounce the pitiful budget for health and social services while the government continues to allot billions of funds for all-out war and military spending. They condemn increased taxation on the people, through impositions such as the TRAIN Law, effectively passing on the burden of the government’s foreign borrowing to the people. They oppose the liberalization of rice importation that press down the farm gate prices and widespread land use conversion.
Now more than ever, we can only expect the Covid-19 crisis to rouse more people into action against the incompetent, corrupt, traitorous and tyrannical Duterte regime. In these times of grave crisis and strife, we call on the people to launch all forms of mass resistance. We call on the people to rise in revolution against Duterte’s increased fascism in the face of hunger, hardship, oppression and exploitation. We call on the Filipino people to join the revolutionary movement in carrying forward the national democratic revolution. Conditions are ever-ripening for waging people’s war not only to end the rotten US-Duterte regime but to achieve genuine national and social liberation. ###