“Masem yo!” (That’s what you deserve!)

NPA-Abra repulses Philippine Army attacks, 7 killed, 2 wounded

Cordillera Peoples' Democratic Front

The Cordillera People's Democratic Front (CPDF) commends the Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) of the New People's Army (NPA-Abra) for successfully repulsing a series of attacks by the 50th Infantry Battalion (Philippine Army) from 29 March to the first week of April, in the far-flung barangays of Tubo, Abra. According to the belated field reports of the local NPA Command, about 7 KIA (killed in action) and 2 WIA (wounded in action) were incurred by the enemy side, aside from the damage done on the two choppers conducting retrieval and resupply operations.

At the same time, the CPDF deplores the malicious and persistent allegation of the 5th Infantry Division (Armed Forces of the Philippines) spin masters that the unit of the 50th IB who encountered the NPA's Agustin Begnalen Command was on a "humanitarian mission". That instead of being armed to the teeth and conducting combat operations at Mt. Layaban, Beew, Tubo, they were there for some "peace and development" work, just equipped with "hammers, nails and saws".

Tell that to your kind! This media distortion has become the usual alibi as a cheap cover-up of the military's defeat on the battlefield. And a desperate attempt to earn some propaganda points in its "winning the peace".

Obviously, the 50th IB operation in Mt. Layaban was meant to sabotage the celebration of the 42nd NPA Anniversary in that part of the province. Based from the report of the local command of the NPA, in the span of the one week operation, they encountered the enemy four times in different locations and at different times. And the NPA inflicted casualties on the enemy side without suffering any casualty on their side.

The 50th IB spokesperson's admission of only three casualties is not a surprise. If they can have the temerity to spin lies to define their propaganda work and psywar operations, it is not a wonder if what they actually mean by information is disinformation, truth is telling lies, and winning the peace is peace of the grave.

On the morning of 2 April, two choppers attempting to land on the lower side of Mt. Layaban were fired upon and hit by NPA sniper fire. In sheer frustration, on 4 April, two helicopter gunships dropped bombs between barangays (villages) Beew and Alangtin, and intermittently strafed the surrounding areas even without any known target and without regard to the safety of civilians within the area.

The vile threat of Col. Anquillano, commanding officer of the 50th IB before the start of the military operations, in the presence of municipal and barangay officials and elders in Mayabo, Tubo last 12 March, that any barangay hosting the 42nd NPA Anniversary and anyone attending the annual celebrations will be fair target of military reprisal, did not deter the determination of the peasant masses in participating in the celebration done much earlier and at an undisclosed place.

Those that weren't able to attend make do with the triumphant tactical offensives of their New People's Army. Indeed, the people's sigh of "masem yo!" (that's what you deserve!) reverberates in every barangay that bore the brunt of the military operations.

The undeniable fact still remains that the presence of the 50th IB and the 41st Infantry Battalion in the province of Abra serves as the 'Investment Security Force' of large scale corporate mining in the area .

There are more than eight large scale mining companies that have a mining stake in the entire province of Abra, that includes Golden Lake Mining Corp. — a subsidiary of Philex Mines — and a Canadian mining company, CANEX in the southern part, and another three which includes Golden Lake, Total Mineral Exploration and Titan Mining and Energy Corp in the northern part of Abra. Even much earlier, Malacanang people issued marching orders for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police field commands to provide security forces to foreign mining companies operating or intending to operate in their area of responsibility.

The successive tactical offensives of the NPA's Agustin Begnalen Operational Command, despite overwhelming odds to frustrate the 50th IB's massive combat operations, could only be attributed to the steadfast resolve and commitment of the commanders and Red fighters, their mastery of the terrain, and the unflinching support of the masses.

Like a broken record, the spokesperson of the 50th IB aired on local radio stations that the soldiers were not on military operations but instead were conducting "civic action". The spin master must have his geography wrong. He could not locate where Mt. Layaban is, the target of the 50th IB operation. In truth, Mt. Layaban is far from the adjacent barangays, so much so that their lame reason of being in the area for "humanitarian missions" has no recipient.

No amount of belittling and downgrading of the NPA's actual strength and capability as claimed by the AFP/PNP commanders and intelligence units in the region can deter the support of the masses as these lies are belied time and again by the series of successful annihilitive and attritive tactical offensives that inflict casualties against enemy troops. On the other hand, the AFP/PNP losses in the battlefield and the knowledge that while the rank and file are thrown into the doom of combat operations, their commanding generals are engaged in wanton and unbridled corruption, all the more add up to their low morale in the field.

A well determined and highly spirited New People's Army, though undermanned and ill-equipped but well supported by the majority of the Filipino people will surely defeat the reactionary AFP that is oversized and equipped with the discards of Uncle Sam but with low morale.

In time, the people's revolutionary movement will advance to new heights as it enters the higher stage of people's war.