The 8th ID, AFP and NTF-Elcac are maliciously distorting truths regarding IHL to further their fascist agenda

As reaction to recent ambuscades by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Samar, the 8th Infantry Division, 803rd IBde and the 20th IB of the Philippine Army, the National Task Force-Elcac and their provincial and municipal counterparts, and even the new secretary of defense wasted no time in releasing statements condemning the legitimate military actions of the NPA.

In the wake of the 8th ID’s embarrassing losses, they have launched an all-out media offensive to condemn the Red fighters’ attack and use of command-detonated explosives (CDEx), threaten legal action and cases to the Commission on Human Rights, and even claimed to have deployed members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives to the sites of the ambuscades.

Their coordinated media offensive serves to maliciously paint the NPA military actions as ordinary criminal acts, committed not against superiorly-armed troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines but against “innocent victims,” and as violations of international humanitarian law. It aims to misrepresent the NPA as “terrorists” and to veer attention away from the AFP’s incompetence in warfare and their abuses in peasant communities in Northern Samar.

Paying lip service to human rights, the high-ranking officials and generals of the NTF-Elcac and the AFP deliberately parrot the terms “Ottawa Treaty,” “Geneva Conventions,” and “international humanitarian law” in their statements, which only succeed in showing themselves stupid, lacking basic understanding of these terms, or as outright liars.

The ambuscades in Mapanas and Catubig were legitimate tactical offensives against armed security forces of the AFP. The targets were armed combatants conducting combat patrol operations by the 8th ID’s own admission. They were precisely attacked using CDEx which we have said before are not self-detonating or contact-detonated and are in accordance with international conventions.

The NPA offensives did not harm any civilian or civilian property and did not violate the laws of armed conflict. NPA offensives and the CDEx are worlds different from the AFP’s terrorist aerial bombings and shelling that indiscriminately and widely damage farms, forests, rivers and the peasants’ other sources of livelihood and cause trauma to nearby civilian communities. In 2021, the AFP-PNP conducted at least 37 rounds of aerial bombing, aerial strafing, indiscriminate strafing by ground troops, and artillery shelling in Eastern Visayas. Not one of their officials has been held accountable for these.

The criminal cases that the 8th ID, the AFP and the NTF-Elcac are purportedly building up against the NPA are useless because the people’s army is not answerable to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. So are any complaint to be filed against the CHR, as it does not have authority to investigate the NPA. These are mere publicity stunts.

Whom will the cases be filed against anyway? Aside from “John” and “Jane Does,” they will more likely be charged against identified and red-tagged activists, members of legal and progressive organizations, and revolutionaries retired from active service. As in the past, trumped-up charges and warrants of arrest can possibly be filed against them to justify worn-out “nanlaban” or “armed encounter” scenarios.

The 8th ID, the AFP and the NTF-Elcac will use the NPA offensives as pretext to intensify their all-out war. Already they have mobilized troops from the 20th IB, 43rd IB, 63rd IB and the 81st Division Reconnaissance Company in the Pacific area. The 8th ID has announced it will send more forces to the area, including the notorious 3rd IB. Intensified military presence is also expected in the Catubig-Las Navas areas.

As they intrude into territories of the revolutionary government, the NPA and the masses must prepare to counter more of their fascist attacks. At the same time, these fascist troops shall be additional targets of the tactical offensives that are sure to follow the ambuscades in Catubig and Mapanas.#

The 8th ID, AFP and NTF-Elcac are maliciously distorting truths regarding IHL to further their fascist agenda