“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for their intensified fascist attacks against the people. The Duterte regime continues to rule the land with fear and impunity”.
This is the statement of League of Filipino Students (LFS) on Tuesday morning following the reports regarding the killings of a Lumad leader and a farmer leader on January 20, the killing of a South Korean national in Camp Crame, and the recent violation of AFP in their own ceasefire.
“It is appalling that more and more people are being killed. With no remorse while trying to conceal their hands stained with blood, both the AFP and PNP arrogantly justify their fascist actions. This is unacceptable,” said Rosos.
AFP and Oplan Kapayapaan
“Oplan Kapayapaan is the new blueprint of human rights violations. It has replaced the bloody Oplan Bayanihan but does not fundamentally change its orientation to launch offensives against the people, especially those who are vocal critics of the government,” said Rosos.
“Contrary to its name, Oplan Kapayapaan, does not seek to attain a just peace. Instead, this new counter-insurgency program is geared to intensify the attacks against the people and human rights violations in the countryside. ,” Rosos argued.
Rosos pointed out that Oplan Kapayapaan has resulted to an increase in deployment of military forces in the countryside. He recalled that AFP even proudly announced that it has deployed 51 battalions in Bangasamoro areas to launch sustained operations in the next six months.
“This is no different from the previous counter-insurgency programs of the government. It will inevitably result to widespread aggression against the Moro people and thousands upon thousands of forced evacuation. Also, we have seen in the previous regimes that they use the excuse of war on terrorism to execute not only the Moro people but every indigenous people and farmers in the countryside,” said Rosos.
The youth leader also noted that even during the third round of the formal peace talks, Alexander Ceballos, a peasant leader from National Federation of Sugar Workers in Negros, and Veronico “Nico” Delamante, an anti-mining Lumad leader in Surigao, were gunned down by state agents. According to Rosos, these killings were testaments that the Duterte government does not intend to develop peace but hostilities towards the people.
“So much for peace, Mr. President. War on terrorism, war on drugs, and peace and development are horrendous excuses for executing the bloody Oplan Kapayapaan. Instead of listening to the demands of the people to pull out military troops and dismantle para-military groups, you even have the gall to increase them. This will lead to the proliferation of human rights violations in the countryside,” said Rosos.
Rosos noted that the Duterte regime cannot talk about peace if the AFP continue to violate its own ceasefire even amid the third round of the formal peace talks. The youth leader referred to the military operations that resulted into a clash between the AFP and the New People’s Army (NPA). According to reports, the encounter caused the death of 8 AFP soldiers and a member of NPA.
“This is the height of insincerity of attaining just peace. While the representatives of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were negotiating in the third round of peace talks, the AFP under the Duterte regime is conducting military operations, violating its own ceasefire. It is both offensive and insensitive to the Filipino people who are seeking a just peace,” said Rosos.
“Clearly, Oplan Kapayapaan is an intensified fascist approach to maintain the government’s monopoly of power. A Marcosian tactic that employs martial law in the countryside and aims to kill and silence everyone that is suspected against the Duterte regime. Even legitimate issues like call for lands or resistance to plunder and mining are undermined by the regime by equating them as rebels that the government needs to kill,” Rosos continued.
“We oppose this new program. While the people are clamoring to end the bloody Oplan Bayanihan of the previous regime, it is very much infuriating that President Duterte just changed its name to Oplan Kapayapaan but the fundamental and core principles that attack the people remains intact. It has only intensified the militarization and human rights violations in the countryside,” Rosos added.
PNP and Oplan Tokhang
“The recent scandal on the killing of a Korean national has shown that the PNP is brutal, corrupt, and rotten to its core. This is part of the culture of impunity that the agency has employed to wreak fear among the people,” said Rosos.
“The death of Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame is height of the anti-people’s war on drugs. Since the PNP and its para-police forces can easily get away with the massacre of civilians that are allegedly drug users or pushers, it is no surprising that Oplan Tokhang is being used for their own interests even if it means killing a person or two,” said Rosos.
Rosos also pointed out that Oplan Tokhang is also being enforced against leaders of progressive people’s organizations. It is used as an excuse to kill anyone that is critical of the government.
“We have been saying that President Duterte’s approach on drugs is doom to fail. The approach to the problem is through summary killings and wrecking fear and havoc but does not address the root cause of the problem. But what complicates it more is that the implementers themselves – the police officials – are heavily involve in various criminal activities like drugs,” Rosos said.
“Oplan Tokhang will undeniably flop if the regime continues its fascist approach. Is the government really trying to resolve the drug problems in the country or does it wants to maintain an iron rule over the people by using state violence and terror,” Rosos added.
“We express our strongest indignation over the worsening culture of impunity and intensified human rights violations. The abuses of state forces stems out from a fascist ideology that needs to be cut down immediately. Amidst the attacks on our human rights and civil liberties – from the countryside to the cities – we implore our fellow Filipinos to stand for justice. Let us end this bloody cycle using the strength of our collective actions.” Rosos ended. ###