“Peace and Development” a smokescreen for AFP combat operations and human rights violations

10th ID-AFP's 'peace and development:' a smokescreen for AFP combat operations and grave rights violations, all for corporate greed

Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command

Commando teams of the 1st Pulang Bagani Company of the New People's Army (PBC-NPA) have staged a series of harassment actions against the Army Patrol Bases of the 1003rd Brigade-10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (1003rd Bde-AFP) in Paquibato Proper and Paradise Embac at 6 am, today, 5 October, and another last 30 September in Barangay Fatima, all in Paquibato District.

Since July, a total of ten 1st PBC-NPA tactical offensives have been launched against the 1003rd-AFP troops in Paquibato, Davao City.

The NPA actions were carried out as punitive measures against the abusive 1003rd Brigade-AFP troops in the Davao base areas. The 1003rd Bde-AFP has been specifically deployed to ensure the unhampered exploration of corporate mining entities.

Since last year, the regime's Mines and Geosciences Bureau has been processing at least 11 applications to mine 95,569.369 hectares under the 1003rd Bde-AFP's area of operations in the mineral-rich mountains of Davao City, Davao del Norte and as far as Bukidnon. More than half of these applications are in Paquibato, Davao City.

The current unrelenting AFP combat operations are part of the 10th ID-AFP's 'peace and development' buzzword designed to sow terror among the communities, silence the dissenters and pave the way for the entry of corporate mining. These AFP operations have resulted to grave crimes against the masses whose rights were violated one after the other with impunity. In less than three months, almost a thousand individuals in Paquibato were victims of state fascism that included the murders of civilians Julius Tamondes and Reynaldo Labrador.

10th ID-AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar's babble that the AFP combat troops were engaged in conducting "dialogues with the people" when fired upon last 30 September is pure hogwash.

The so-called dialogue is the AFP-initiated compulsory pulong-pulong (small meetings) in every barangay where people are subjected to psychological warfare to force them to renounce the revolutionary movement, and organize the so-called Barangay Defense System that turn civilians into pawns and convenient AFP shields against NPA attacks.

There is no hint of democracy in these coercive 'dialogues'. Lt. Col. Aguilar's perversion of the truth holds no water for the poor peasants who have been at the receiving end of the 10th ID-AFP's brutality. His fabrications on the abused 'peace and development' hype are easily uncovered by the masses who have long suffered from widespread poverty.

Lt. Col. Aguilar has called the NPA actions as attacks against 'development efforts' of the regime but expediently glosses over whose idea of 'development' the Lt. Colonel refers to.

In Paquibato District, the Alberto Mining Corp. plans to mine 16,200 hectares in Paquibato and Malabog; another company named Superfield is set to open 6,874 hectares in Lumiad and Mapula, Paquibato and Mambusao Mining of Ramon Taningco 15,660 hectares also in Davao City. It is the interests of these corporate entities that AFP confidential agent and tribal dealer Ruben Labawan's ATADI has promoted. These corporate encroachments protected by the 10th ID-AFP's heavy-combat operations have endangered peasant lives and livelihood. It will eventually devastate the environment and plunder our national patrimony.

The 10th ID-AFP's 'peace and development' mantra is a smokescreen for the intense AFP combat operations and violations to international humanitarian law — all at the service of big business. Lt. Col. Aguilar's zealous discourse on 'humanitarian work' is to protect corporate greed.

Aguilar's spin and the 10th ID-AFP intense combat operations will surely fail to suppress the people's revolutionary resistance, and will continue to make the regime's war machinery even more vulnerable to the tactical offensives of the people's army.