Inconsistencies in Marcos and AFP pronouncements about NPA strength
1) It was quite amusing to observe a few days ago how Col. Francel Margareth Padilla started her work as new spokesperson of the AFP by repeating the annual AFP announcement that the fascist military “will eliminate the New People’s Army by the end of the year.” Despite being new to the job, she already sounded like a broken record.
What was interesting, however, is the fact that she issued her statement just days after Marcos, their commander-in-chief, declared that “there are no more NPA fronts,” a claim rebuffed a few days after by Gen. Romeo Brawner who said the NPA still has “eleven weakened fronts.” To say the least, these disconnected statements reveal inconsistencies in the Marcos government’s public assessment of the state of the revolutionary armed movement, arising from contradictions in its self-serving objectives.
On the one hand, it wants to project the Philippines as “insurgency-free” in its desperate drive to entice foreign capitalists at a time of global crisis, with promises of full access to land and resources. On the other hand, it wants to justify the gargantuan and historic high budget allotted to the AFP, which mostly go to bombs, artillery shells, jet fighters, drones, jet fuel, bullets, assault weapons and other military equipment used for counterguerrilla operations.
However, it does not want to look inept and stupid for its yearly failure to attain its declaration of “crushing the NPA,” thus, they have resorted to drilling the line of “weakened NPA” and achieving “strategic victory.”
Neither declaration of “no more NPA fronts” or “eliminating the NPA by the end of the year”, however, can obscure the fact that the AFP continues to carry out an all-out strategic offensive and large-scale military operations across the country, squandering billions upon billions of pesos in a war that is bound to fail in its objectives of ending the Filipino people’s democratic resistance.
2) Over the years, declarations of “crushing the NPA” have invariably been accompanied by worsening forms of violations of human rights and attacks against civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. The pattern remains the same under Marcos as the fascist troops of the AFP act like wild dogs on a rampage, firing guns and dropping bombs in an act of bravado.
The peasant masses, who serve as the source of strength of the NPA, are at the main targets of the AFP. When it says it is staging focused military operations, the AFP, in fact, are carrying out a campaign of brutal suppression in hundreds of rural villages. These are marked by extrajudicial killings, rounding up people and parading them as “surrenderees,” looting people’s homes, encampment of soldiers amid civilian communities, imposing curfew and other arbitrary restrictions on people’s movements and economic activity, food blockades, checkpoints, aerial bombing, artillery shelling and other bloody and dirty tactics. The vain objective is to break the people’s spirit and make them cower to submission. The result is the opposite.
Let me point out the recent killings of two peasant activists in Negros Occidental by elements of the 62nd IB. The two, Boy Baloy and Ernesto Torres, were both active in resistance to land grabbing and defending their communities. Like before, the AFP claims the victims to be NPA fighters killed in an armed encounter, in the same way that the PNP justifies the thousands killed in its “drug war,” in its perverted attempt to cover-up their crimes.
3) I am happy to report to the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces that we have received reports from various NPA commands across the country welcoming the Party’s call to carry out a rectification movement. Fighters and commanders of the NPA have expressed enlightenment provided by the Party’s self-critical analysis of past internal weaknesses and errors of the NPA.
Majority of the units of the NPA have adjusted to the AFP’s tactics of large-scale military mobilization and are expanding their areas of operation and strengthening their mass base. They have adapted guerrilla tactics of concentration, shifting and dispersal to comprehensively and painstakingly carry out military work and mass work. The peasant masses, even those who were subjected to military suppression and forced to “surrender,” are elated by the return and presence of NPA units in their areas.
All in all, we anticipate steady growth during the rest of the year and succeeding period. Amid Marcos’ corruption, policies that favor foreign capitalist interests and a few big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, the Filipino people have no other recourse but to intensify their revolutionary mass movement and armed resistance.
4) There is now a stark contrast between the NPA and the AFP.
On the one hand, there is creeping demoralization within the AFP, especially among their rank-and-file, who are well too aware of their failure to defeat the NPA and the continuing deep and wide support that the NPA enjoys among the peasant masses and people. They are further dispirited by the corruption of their higher officers who mulct and pocket millions of pesos of public funds, and by the in-fighting among the generals who are deeply loyal to rival politicians and bureaucrat capitalists. They are utterly dejected by the fact that they are used as cannon fodder to defend a rotten system while their commander-in-chief enjoy a high-style living using public money to have helicopters ferry him from concerts and late-night parties.
On the one hand, the unity of NPA Red fighters and commanders of the NPA continues to grow strong and their revolutionary moral heightens. Without expecting any material thing in return, they give all out to serve and defend the peasant masses and people.