DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Mindanao Region condemned the continued “false arrests,” detentions and killings of civilians in Southern Mindanao by the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement on Friday, Rubi del Mundo, the spokesperson of NDFP-SMR said: “The US-Duterte regime, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the forefront, has shamelessly woven tall tales of conquest with its parade of forced fake surrenders of civilians, illegal arrests and killings of Lumad, peasants and activists in Southern Mindanao.”
The abuses, the NDFP-SMR spokesperson added, has turned more atrocious by the day with the continued imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
The group also criticized the spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army for invariably claiming having “cleared” rural barangays from the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, more specifically in Davao City.
Despite the claims, the NDFP-SMR said engagements between government forces and NPA units continue to take place in the area.
The statement cited the encounter between the NPA and soldiers belonging to 3rd Infantry Battalion that took place last June 27, at around 3:30 in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District in Davao City.
“Immediately after the incident, Jerry Liao, Ruel Linaw, Koko Bayok and Tata Atig, all farmers from Brgy. Tawan-tawan, Baguio District, were arrested by 3rd IB troops and held incommunicado for 5 days,” del Mundo said.
She added that the four were only released on July 2.
Del Mundo also reported that a day after the engagement, six civilians in nearby Barangay Magsaysay, Marilog District were forced by the 3rd IB to “surrender” as NPA fighters.
“The AFP even falsely alleged in the media that during the firefight, Red fighters held 30 farm workers against their will. In fact, the NPA ensured that the farm workers were steered to safety as the Red fighters withdrew from the engagement,” she added.
The NDFP-SMR also took note that a few days after the incident, Lt. Col. Darren Comia, the Battalion Commander of 16th IB announced that they are recommending 83 barangays in Davao City to be declared free of CPP and NPA influence.
“What Lt. Col. Comia means of being ‘cleared’ is that their troops are able to conduct psywar operations, coerce a handful of residents to surrender as either NPA fighters or sympathizers, intimidate local mass leaders and barangay officials, pit civilians against each other, and force their terroristic presence in Lumad and peasant communities,” del Mundo emphasized.
She added that Lt. Col. Comia even gauged the extent of the “clearance” if they are able to conscript civilians to become CAFGU or paramilitary members and establish a military detachment within the communities.
“What the fascist thugs of the 10th ID actually imagine for Davao City is a virtual military garrison peppered with detachments to keep at bay the growing resistance against the US-Duterte’s anti-people programs and policies,” del Mundo continued.
The group said that Duterte is only wasting his remaining saving grace in spurning the peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP.
“He has allowed US imperialist stooges like National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana to shoot down the peace talks, instead of heeding the clamor of the masses to resolve the roots of civil unrest,” the NDFP-SMR claimed.
The group added that Duterte has paved the path of his political demise by, inadvertently, agitating the Filipino people to oust him from power. (davaotoday.com)