Oplan Bayanihan: Grand Psywar Scheme and Continuing Violence Against the People (Part 2)

Other government agencies that are considered important in achieving “peace and security” are the DAR, DA, NEDA, NCIP, NCMF, the CHR and the recently created Presidential Communications Group.

It would be interesting to see how the CHR will play a role, if any, in all of this. The CHR is supposed to be an independent commission and has no business being employed in AFP counter-insurgency operations.

Other government stakeholders are the LGU’s which are described as being “closes to the people and most critical actors in the attainment of internal peace and security”. They are said to be responsible for the “satisfaction or perception of deprivation of the local populace”. Again, here we note that it is merely the “perception of deprivation” that Bayanihan is concerned with, nothing more.

Lastly, there are the AFP and PNP, the main pillars in the counterinsurgency drive.

As for the non-government stakeholders, Bayanihan believes that NGO’s and CSO’s “fill the gaps in the dispensation of tasks and functions of the national government agencies and local governments”. As such, they will be utilized in the counter-insurgency campaign for the “delivery of services” and “sustainable development” projects.

As for the third stakeholder, “the entire Filipino people”, Bayanihan considers them the ultimate beneficiaries of the internal peace and security efforts” and thus their participation is “imperative”.

“People-centered approach” and “human security”

Bayanihan claims to be “people-centered” , focusing their so-called “human security” which is broadly defined as “freedom from fear and freedom from want”. Bayanihan claims to put the people’s welfare “at the center of its operations”.

This concept is also derived from the US COIN Guide which uses the term “population-centric approach” as differentiated from the “enemy-centric approach”. It defines enemy-centric to mean emphasis on the “defeat of the enemy as its primary task and other activities as supporting efforts.”

Meanwhile, a population-centric approach means “to shift the focus…from defeating the insurgent organization to maintaining or recovering the support of the population.”

However the US COIN guide says that in reality, counterinsurgency campaigns “are rarely purely enemy-centric or “population-centric” and will require a combination of both approaches.

Under the “whole of nation, people-centered approach”, programs such as the “conditional cash transfer” can be used as counter-insurgency tools given their palliative but ‘high-impact’ nature. Infrastructure projects, such as the US MCC-funded road construction in Samar can also fall within the scope of counter-insurgency operations (as admitted by the local AFP themselves).

There is also the concern that Oplan Bayanihan will militarize the delivery of services and “development work” done by government agencies and non-government organizations. “Development work” in communities can also be used as a cover for intelligence gathering and profiling of residents. It would also be interesting to know the kind of NGO’s that will engage the AFP within the framework of Bayanihan.

This early, reports that the AFP’s “peace and development teams” implementing Oplan Bayanihan in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley have been conducting ‘census’ activities in the community, extracting information from a local NGO. The local NGO Sildap cried harassment after they were repeatedly visited by fully-armed soldiers who were trying to extract information.

Combat and non-combat operations

Bayanihan claims that while it gives equal importance to non-military multi-stakeholder approach in the conduct of counter-insurgency operations, there will be “no diminution in the importance of combat operations”. However, these would be more “focused” and “tailored” to meet particular “threat groups”.

As the US COIN guide says, “COIN functions… include informational, security, political and economic components, all of which are designed to support the overall objective of establishing and consolidating control over the environment.”

The IPSP calls for the use of “focused military operations against armed threat groups”. The military operations take on the form of combat operations complemented by a wide array of non-combat initiatives aimed at establishing control over the environment.

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