Manila Government Faces Bigger, Bolder Insurgency Problem

The CPP said: “Oplan Bantay Laya 2 failed miserably in its objective in 2007, as Oplan Bantay Laya 1 has failed in 2001-2006, to concentrate the reactionary armed forces and regional mobile police units in 600 barangays in some 10 to 12 guerrilla fronts in six regions all at the same time in order to clear barangays of the NPA, hold them for an extended period and develop them against the people’s army.

“The military and police forces could hardly occupy 300 barangays at every given time and have failed to destroy a single guerrilla front of the NPA. The enemy simply does not have enough troops and resources to cover extensive areas of the country. The NPA can freely move in at least 80 percent of Philippine territory.”

The Philippine military has been churning out press releases from its main headquarters in Manila, saying is has been successful in reducing the strength of the communist guerillas by dismantling the guerilla fronts of the NPA.

But reports from the field say the exact opposite. According to the CPP, the NPA has easily moved in the wide gaps in the deployment of enemy brigades between enemy battalions, between companies and between platoon-size special operation teams.

The communist guerillas have been able to maneuver in order to be on the exterior line in concentrating the red fighters for tactical offensives to wipe out enemy units. It has been able to disperse and shift position in order to evade the enemy with superior strength and at the same time secure a position for launching offensives against government troops.

On the other hand, government soldiers are regularly withdrawn from guerrilla fronts, either because of the need to be deployed in other guerrilla fronts where the NPA is launching more frequent tactical offensives or in Moro areas whenever the level of armed conflict rises there. Whenever state security forces vacate an area, the NPA disperses its units in order to do mass
work and further develop the mass base and mass support, according to the CPP statement.

Instead of winning the war, the Arroyo presidency and the pro-Arroyo chain of command in the AFP have perpetuated human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya.

The CPP said the Arroyo government has carried out mass intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detention, massacres, assassinations and torture, enforced disappearances, rape, arson, food blockades and forced evacuation of rural and indigenous communities to serve the landgrabbing interests of foreign corporations, mining companies, high bureaucrats and local tyrants.

This assertion of massive human rights violations of the Arroyo government is repeatedly echoed by various human rights organizations like the London-based Amnesty International and the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Center.

The same observation has been continuously stated by the European Union, and even the United States, which forced the U.S. Senate to cut down military aid to the Philippine government unless President Arroyo improves the human rights situation across the country.

A more comprehensive and objective report on the condition of human rights tied to the current counter-insurgency campaign was done by U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, who said that the voluminous cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of leftwing activists are part of the counter-insurgency policy of the Arroyo government.

There’s no doubt Arroyo is going to face bigger and bolder offensives from the CPP-NPA in the next three years. There’s a strong possibility that the MILF will withdraw from the ongoing peace talks and resume war with the Arroyo government because of the administration’s persistent moves to give the Moro people only nominal independence, instead of genuine autonomy.

Arroyo has no one to blame but herself. She rejected the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ call for the resumption of peace talks, and instead followed the military prescription and poured in an additional14 billion pesos (US$336.5 million) for the escalation of the war. Arroyo has defied the public’s call for peace talks and instead adopted the games of the generals. UPI Asia Online / Posted by (

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