Col. Bismarck Soliba’s bark is worse than his bite

Ka MAGNO UDYAW, Spokesperson
Leonardo Pacsi Command
NPA-Mountain Province

In a recent local radio interview, Col. Bismarck Soliba, capitalizing on his being a native of the Mountain Province, parroted the standard propaganda line of lies and intrigues of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. According to him, the New People's Army foments trouble and is anti-development, and its guerillas operating in the Mountain Province are not locals. He also claimed that because of the pay and benefits, it is better to join the reactionary AFP than the NPA.

Soliba's ethnocentric and reactionary remarks exemplify a military mindset molded by a twisted sense of service to an unjust social system and its military establishment currently headed by a fake commander-in-chief.

The issue here is not whether NPA guerillas in the Mountain Province are locals. Many NPA fighters and commanders in the Mountain Province are locals, and many Red fighters and commanders from the Mountain Province now serve in other guerilla fronts throughout the Cordillera region. Whether they are assigned to their home provinces or elsewhere, NPA guerillas fight for the same cause of national freedom, democracy, and social justice. Whether they are natives of the Cordillera or not, they fight against an exploitative and oppressive state which regards the Cordillera as nothing more than a resource base to exploit in the name of "development", and the natives of the region be damned.

On the other hand, the AFP aggressively and forcibly recruits local CAFGU militiamen as cannon fodder and to use against their kailian (townmates). Ironically, it is the CAFGU from the Mountain Province that have caused more trouble and committed grave abuses against their kailian.

Major General Rommel Gomez, commanding officer of the 5th Infantry Division and native of the Mountain Province, unleashed more than four battalions of regular and special army units in the provinces of Mountain Province, Kalinga and Abra in a desperate attempt to bring about a less dishonorable conclusion for the miserable failure of Oplan Bantay Laya 2, and to secure the entry of extractive and destructive projects such as the proposed Mainit-Sadanga and Buguias-Tinoc Geothermal power plants.

In recent military operations, AFP troops under the command of Col. Soliba and Maj. Gen. Gomez burned communal forests, bombed and destroyed irrigation canals, and terrorized civilians in the Mountain Province. Who now is causing more trouble for their kailian?

Lastly, Col. Soliba constantly maligns the NPA and belittles its effective strength. If the NPA is truly losing strength, why then is the AFP on a frenzied campaign for additional recruits?

Col. Soliba and the rest of the AFP use psywar tactics developed more than half a century ago by the Nazis under Adolf Hitler. They think that by constantly repeating a lie, it becomes the truth to the people. Col. Soliba's bark is worse than his bite, and his absurd propaganda line will rot in the dustbin of history.