On the event of the release of Agusan 16, NDFP-Mindanao calls for an end to All-Out War, Martial Law in Mindanao
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindanao commends the New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Sur for the safe and orderly release of 16 prisoners-of- war, dubbed the Agusan 16 POWs, it held in captivity for two months.
The safe and orderly release of the Agusan 16 was made possible because of the NPA’s sincere and strict compliance with international protocols of war and previously-signed agreement of NDFP-GRP peace negotiations, namely the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Joint Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and The Hague Joint Declaration.
In light of these recent series of releases, the NDFP-Mindanao calls on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to heed the people of Mindanao’s call for an end to the anti-people all-out-war and ongoing martial law in Mindanao.
Since June 2016 until December 2017, there have been 188 recorded extra-judicial killings of civilians, activists, lawyers, church people and local media in Mindanao, with 37 of those killed, Lumad. Of all the killings, 70% were committed under martial law. There were 247 cases of frustrated killings within the same period, including the frustrated killings of 78 Lumad, 53 of which were volunteer teachers of alternative schools. Most brutal was the nine-day torture of Janry Mensis, 22, and “Jerry”, 16, whom 71st IBPA elements burned and tried to kill in December 2017 in Compostela Valley.
Since June to September 2018, 15 members of progressive farmers and Lumad organizations have been killed by operating troops of the AFP or their military agents. Last September 14, seven (7) Tausug youth who were gathering rambutan and mangosteen
were summarily killed by operating troops of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion in Patikul, Sulu.
The mercenary AFP, goaded by the US, bombed to the ground and destroyed the thriving and lone Islamic city in the Philippines, Marawi City, using the pretext of annihilating the Maute group. The US-instigated attacks on Marawi resulted in the killing of 1,200 civilians, while 800 have gone missing. Still suffering and demanding to return to their homes are the 523,734 residents who have been dislocated by the mass murder and destruction of Marawi.
The AFP is now on the path of “doing a Marawi” to the whole of Mindanao with the deployment of 75% of the AFP in the island. The AFP continues to bomb Moro communities, especially those around resource-rich Moro communities. Last September 2018, bombings and mortar shelling were carried out by the AFP in Brgy. Bialong, Shariff Aguak and Datu Saudi Ampatuan, forcing hundreds to evacuate; and in Shariff Saydona Mustapha, killing a civilian and wounding three, all in Maguindanao.
The Lumad areas of Talaingod in the Davao Region, Manobos of Bukidnon and the Manobo tribes of Surigao del Sur are constantly being dislocated because of bombings and gross human rights violations during combat operations of the AFP. Not less than 59 incidents of bombings and 18 incidents of strafing were committed in other Mindanao communities within a year resulting in the forcible evacuation of 43,480 individuals, most of which were Moro and Lumad.
Since June 2018, the 56th, 72nd and 88 IBPA troops along with the Alamara paramilitaries have been occupying communities of Talaingod in Davao del Norte. They occupied civilian homes and schools and have committed grave human rights abuses against the Lumad in the area.
Recently, the AFP had been conducting series of aerial strafings and indiscriminate bombings on Lumad communities on an almost daily basis from December last year. Thousands of Lumad families have been forced to “bakwit” (evacuate) from their homes since the intensified attacks started. Meanwhile, the extension of martial law in Mindanao has also further emboldened the AFP to carry out more cases of terrorist-tagging, extrajudicial killings, forced/fake surrenders and vilification of legitimate organizations, including the fabrication of charges against Lumad leaders and members of progressive organizations in the area. It is part of the comprehensive psy-war operations campaign along the design of the Oplan Kapayapaan, together with state fascism and terrorism though all-out war and martial law.
The NDFP-Mindanao maintains that a just and lasting peace cannot be attained until the root causes of the armed struggle and the perpetuation of an oppressive and exploitative ruling system are addressed. It upholds the revolutionary movement’s commitment to advance the common drafts of the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms) in the interest of ensuring the progress of the formal talks. The biggest stakeholders of the ARRD (Agrarian Reform and Rural Development) and NIED (National Industrialization and Economic Development) provisions in the CASER are none other than the peasant and working classes, the broad masses of the people that the NDFP represents.
A just and lasting peace should be motivated by genuinely seeking for substantial solutions to basic economic, political and social demands of the people, namely, genuine land reform, national industrialization, an end to contractualization, free housing, free education and many others.
The revolutionary movement together with the Filipino people will continue to exert all efforts to further intensify the people’s war, put an end to state fascism and attain a just and lasting peace. ###