Against the anti-peasant Philippine Army, the masses have their People’s Army

Against the hard-core and anti-peasant 8th ID, the peasant masses of Samar have their people's Army

Arnulfo Ortiz Command
NPA Provincial Command  – Western Samar

The armed revolutionary forces in Western Samar, like their comrades in Northern Samar, are determined to completely frustrate the coordinated military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that now currently cover the two provinces — the first military campaign of this magnitude in Eastern Visayas since the assumption of a new puppet and fascist regime.

Within the extended framework of Oplan Bantay Laya (national security program of the Manila government), the island of Samar enjoyed top priority as far as the AFP Central Command was concerned. The overiding state of affairs, however, which ultimately compelled the New People's Army units toward immediate battle preparedness was simply the fact that the new Aquino regime was gearing up for a US-instigated all-out-war against the revolutionary movement and the people.

The frenzied deployment of the different units of the 8th Infantry Division in the province has so far spanned a wide area which includes the towns of Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara, Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao (stretching further to Las Navas and several other towns of neighboring Northern Samar). As the US-Aquino regime machinates to project a fairly credible government and a semblance of social service– and as it parades the military more frequently in grander, more dramatic civic functions– the patent terror of its counter-revolutionary war of suppression continues. With a staggering 81% increase in the proposed military budget for the next fiscal year, such terror could just run amok.

No amount of money, media savvy, psywar and counterrevolutionary propaganda, however, could help a viciously mercenary state apparatus become capable of winning the hearts and minds of the people. The military, through its civil-military operations cannot possibly keep the masses in the countryside from taking the revolutionary road as it fails to present anything substantially close to a real solution to the agrarian problem and social inequities. Its big landlord, comprador and US imperialist masters do not allow it to do so. The AFP quickly and dismally falters in whatever effort to portray itself as the kind and reasonable servant of the people, and is instead forced inevitably to reveal and act out its true contempt for the toiling masses.

On September 20, in Brgy. Casapa, Jiabong, a 30-year-old woman was harshly interrogated in front of her three small children by soldiers belonging to the 34th Infantry Battalion, who accused her of being a member of the NPA and demanded information of their whereabouts. She was also repeatedly beaten with a stick on the neck. The soldiers also aimed their rifles and pretended to execute the poor woman and her three little children who, by then, had all started crying and screaming, terrified at seeing their mother go through such dreadful abuse.

On the very same day that the guns of the 34th IB were being pointed at the hapless mother and her children in Jiabong, the AFP was on radio commemorating the 38th year of the declaration of Martial Law. The next day, September 21, this legion of cold-blooded charlatans called the 8th ID conducted medical missions in Calbayog and Catbalogan.

Meanwhile, in Brgy. Bunga, Motiong, soldiers who have been dispatched to the area paraded and set up their cannons right at the heart of the populous barrio center. While allegedly scouring for alleged abandoned rebel encampments, they also have been ransacking the local stores for food and alcohol and have been stealing chickens with impunity.

In Matuguinao, in the frantic routine of deploying troops and supply for the ongoing operations, helicopter pilots have been landing on and ruining rice fields. The farmers have all been eagerly expecting their first good harvest since the intense and prolonged dry spell of the previous months.

In the interior barangays of San Jose de Buan, columns of the 34th IB on scouting missions have been trampling over and destroying the precious crops and livelihood of the poor peasants.

The Arnulfo Ortiz Command of the NPA vows to make the 8th Infantry Division pay dearly for the terror and ruin that it has once again brought to the lives of the rural masses. The Red fighters and commanders in the province, together with the people's militia, are steadfast in ensuring that these incursions are foiled by employing maximum flexibility and taking the highest initiative possible in launching various types of tactical offensives.

Indeed the 8th ID "storm troopers" belong to a hard-core anti-peasant army. The peasant masses have long since realized that this horde is not their army. Against it and its feudal and imperialist masters the peasants have practically nothing. Except, of course, for their own army, which they call not by any ostentatious name but simply, their People's Army.