Fight and frustrate the fascist counter-revolutionary war of the US-Duterte regime
In its remaining months in its term, the US-Duterte regime is growing more desperate in imposing its dictatorship in the entire country. To implement its counter-insurgency war, it further tightens its hold to the most far-flung barrios of the Cordillera through the use of its fascist armed forces. Contrary to their claim that they are ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of the people, use of military force is being applied to make people comply to their orders. As of July 2021, there had been reports of Retooled Community Support Operations who have encamped in more than 47 barrios in the Cordillera, covering the provinces of Kalinga, Abra and Mountain Province. In the province of Abra: 2 barangays in Tubo, 9 barangays in Malibcong; In Kalinga: 11 barangays in Balbalan, 4 barangays in Lubuagan, 1 barangay in Tabuk City, Kalinga; 7 barangays in Pinukpuk, 3 barangays in Pasil, 1 barangay in Rizal; In Mountain Province: 3 barangays in Besao; 5 barangays in Sagada, 2 barangays in Bontoc, and 3 barangays in Bauko. The implementation of the Barangay Development Program and projects of the NTF-ELCAC is being used as pretext for the entry of RCSP troops. Aside from these, intel and combat operations are unceasingly being carried out in various barrios of the entire region.
In these barrios where RCSP, intelligence and combat operations are being implemented, residents have suffered numerous human rights violations and massive disruptions from their daily activities caused by these fascist troops. While they are struggling to survive amidst the rampage of the pandemic, the presence and repression of military troopers further worsen their situation. In Kalinga, census activities are being carried out by forces of the military under the guise of the National ID System. Residents are being asked for their names, addresses, cellphone numbers, IDs, relations to known NPA personalities, and organizations they have joined. Information that they gathered from these census activities were used to force civilians to attend deceptive activities that are later used to project them as ‘NPA surrenderees.’ Some residents are being harassed and falsely accused as ‘NPA supporters.’ In some barrios of Lacub, Abra, soldiers of the 24th IB destroyed swidden huts and forcibly interrogated residents during the conduct of combat operations in the last week of July up to the first week of August. There were also residents who they forced to act as guides. A farmer was illegally searched and taken to the barracks of the 24th IB in Sitio Barbarit, Bgy. Tagodtod, Lagangilang, Abra. Some rice granaries in Malibcong and Lacub were also forcibly opened by troops of the 24th IB in their illegal searches. Residents of some barrios in Mountain Province have also criticized the year-long presence of soldiers in their barrios due to the restrictions imposed to them, limiting their economic activities such as farming, hunting and fishing. Many local officials from the provincial, municipal and barangay levels and elders in the entire region were forced to sign DILG-templated ‘persona non grata’ declarations against the NPA and red-tagged legitimate people’s organizations.
While people’s activities are being severely restricted, armed forces of the regime freely roam the barangays as if they are exempted from the pandemic. Their claim a “nabakunaan kami met laeng” (we have already been vaccinated) is not an assurance that they will not spread the virus. Clearly, lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic are being used to railroad the implementation of destructive and anti-people projects of the regime and its imperialist masters. Among the projects of the regime being protected by these troopers are the Gened Dams along Apayao River in Kabugao and Calanasan, Nabuangan Dam in Conner, both located in the province of Apayao; Kalinga Geothermal Project in Pasil, Kalinga; Upper Tabuk Hydroelectric Project in Upper Tabuk, Kalinga; ecotourism projects such as the Suknan Waterfalls project in Pinukpuk, Kalinga, and many more.
The imperialist prescription of ‘whole-of-government’ approach which was adapted by the regime as the ‘whole-of-nation approach’ in its counter-insurgency war, has been proven a miserable failure in Afghanistan. We must strengthen our ranks and intensify the people’s war in order to crush this dirty war of the regime. The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front calls upon the people to fight and frustrate the ‘whole-of-nation approach’. We must raise our unity to a higher level and actively s struggle against the presence of RCSP troops in our barrios. Because of the limitations due to the pandemic, we should strive to wage various creative forms of struggle to counter the deceptive and divisive tactics of these troops. Most of all, we should advance the people’s war on all sides as our defense against this anti-people campaign waged by this terrorist regime.