Ka Oris

Jorge Madlos, aka Ka Oris, National Democratic Front of the Philippines Mindanao spokesman. (davaotoday.com file photo by Ace R. Morandante)

DAVAO CITY — The National Democratic Front Mindanao issued its immediate and long-term challenges for presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, including their demand to stop militarization in the island, where thousands of government troops are deployed to quell Communist and Moro revolutionary groups.

The NDF said the government mobilized “13 full infantry battalions, three Division Reconnaissance Companies, two Scout Ranger Companies, including at least three companies of three battalions on operational command” in Mindanao to dismantle the revolutionary movement.

As of February this year, the Army has four Mechanized Infantry Battalions and a Cavalry Battalion, which includes more than 400 armored vehicles, operating in Mindanao.

“The thousands of fascist AFP troops, not including its rabid paramilitaries and the PNP in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Davao City conduct civil-military operations such as Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP), an insidious euphemism for psy-war tactics of brutal intimidation and extra-judicial killings,” said NDF Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos, nom de guerre Ka Oris, in an emailed statement.

He said a challenge to Duterte’s pro-people leadership “is how to immediately stop the militarization of Mindanao to normalize the economic, social and cultural life of the Lumad, Moro and the non-Moro people.”

Ka Oris said there is also the challenge to provide  for the safe and  immediate return of  the thousands of victims of forced evacuation to their homes in Davao region, Caraga region, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, in Moro areas and other parts of Mindanao.

Thousands of indigenous peoples are still staying in evacuation centers in Davao City, Tandag City and Bukidnon province.

The NDF spokesman also said that the incoming administration will be faced by the challenge to immediately re-open community schools which were tagged as rebel schools by government forces.

Among the other immediate concerns of the NDF for Duterte to address in Mindanao are: 1) the end to extra-judicial killings and other forms of human rights violation perpetrated by the military and paramilitary units organized by the AFP alongside the delivery of justice to all the victims;  2) the immediate disbandment of the para-military forces; 3) an end to the rampant proliferation of drug syndicates in the rest of Mindanao; 4)  immediate food aid to the peasant masses affected by the prolonged drought; and 5) the release of political prisoners, especially the many innocent civilians detained or sentenced on the basis of trumped-up cases.

Ka Oris said Duterte’s winning “opens opportunities for the people’s demands and aspiration in Mindanao.”

“The overwhelming votes from Mindanao estimated at almost 70% for Duterte indicates the people’s ire against the dreaded Oplan Bayanihan as well as the deceptive ‘daang matuwid’ of the US-Aquino III regime,” he said.

Oris said they recognize Duterte, who is also a Mindanaoan, as someone who”stood on the side of the people,” in the past.

These include the issues of forced evacuation, US intervention in Davao City, human rights violations, the defense of the urban poor, environmental issues, illegal drugs, and the release of Prisoners of War (POW).

Now that he is president, Ka Oris said Duterte is “in a better position to be more effective in defending the people’s interest if he so decides to stand by the people in the face of pressures from the whole ruling classes, the military and US imperialism.”

National concerns

Meanwhile, among the immediate concerns of Duterte in Mindanao are national concerns including “the persistent LRT and traffic problems, the illegal drug problem, and criminality.”

Oris also said that the concern for lasting peace is a national priority concern.

“In fact, even more urgent in the war torn Moro areas and militarized NPA regions in Mindanao,” he said.

The NDF also said that the implementation of the genuine land reform and national industrialization must be the top agenda of the new government.

People’s movement 

“The realization of this priority may not be achieved within the six-year term of the new government, but the direction towards this end will be most welcome to the common people who voted for ‘Digong’,” Ka Oris said.

He said these challenging tasks faced by the President-elect “must be complimented by the people’s broadest movement in Mindanao…to hasten the realization of these immediate people’s concern in Mindanao, giving  counter-weight in the face of reactionary counter pressures to the new president.”(davatoday.com)

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