The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines for hoodwinking residents in Northern Samar into attending anti-communist “peace rallies” on the 53rd anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Based on reports it received from the provincial command of the New People’s Army, it said that residents from Brgy. San Miguel, Las Navas did not know that the December 26 activity that their barangay officials told them to attend would be a “peace rally” condemning the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The “rallyists” were actually 4Ps beneficiaries, recipients of another kind of government assistance program, senior citizens, and barangay officials coerced by the military to fool their fellow barrio folk into attending the AFP-instigated event.

A day prior, soldiers through barangay officials announced to residents that there would be an activity in the barrio the next day. They have been camping in the barangay since November, where they occupied the local high school, health center and day care center.

On the day of the CPP anniversary, barangay officials again called on the villagers to attend the activity to be held at 11 o’clock in the morning. To come up with warm bodies for the fascist military, they had to tell the residents the event would not begin if the attendees were too few.

The “rallyists” were then made to hold up ready-made placards written with anti-communist slogans, calls condemning the CPP-NPA, and red-tagged progressive party-lists. Soldiers also made everyone in the barrio to sign a logbook.

The NDF-EV said that the fake “peace rally” in San Miguel is one of the many public relations stunts shamelessly staged by the AFP last December 26 to come up with the bogus figure of 3,000 attendees of anti-communist gatherings several towns throughout Northern Samar.

“These fake ‘peace rallies’ are a desperate attempt by the AFP to disparage the CPP on the occasion of its anniversary. Unfortunately for them, these stunts only prove their desperation to veil the fact that their all-out war and their fascist state terrorism are headed for failure. As their lies become more brazen and their abuses more brutal, all the more that the masses hate them and become more eager to resist militarization and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

Since fascist state troops occupied San Miguel in November, they have conducted house-to-house interrogations, camped in civilian facilities, and forced barangay officials to sign a resolution owning responsibility for anything that may happen to them while in the barrio, such as an armed encounter against the NPA.

In nearby Brgy. Osang, Catubig, fascist state troops also coerced barangay officials to sign a similar resolution which additionally declares that they give outright permission to the soldiers to camp inside the barrio. Youth residents and barangay officials were also forced to buy and facilitate the soldiers’ food supply. Villagers were also made to do their laundry.

In both barrios, fascist state troops continue to go in and out, interrogating residents, coercing them to participate in their operations, and forcing them to perform manual labor in violation of international humanitarian law.

At least three cases of terror bombing and shelling were also carried out in surrounding farmlands since September.

The NDF-EV added, “The AFP has carried out these attacks on San Miguel and Osang even though both have been declared “cleared” of NPA influence since 2020. These ‘cleared’ declarations are as ludicrous and impossible as their deadline of defeating the revolutionary movment in Eastern Visayas by 2022.

“The AFP’s fake peace rallies and black propaganda against the CPP-NPA-NDF can never completely shroud their lies, brutality and fascist terrorism. The AFP has proven once again that it is not an army of patriots who defend the people from foreign invaders, but is an army of invaders and ruthless fascists who deceive and occupy the people.

“Most importantly, they can never snuff out the determination of the people of Northern Samar and of Eastern Visayas to wage all forms of struggle, especially armed struggle, to frustrate their all-out war and carry forward the people’s war that will end the lying, cheating, mercenary and fascist AFP.”