By SARAH RAYMUNDO
Our mighty republic receives Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) from its mightiest and benevolent patron, the United States of America.
APCs are excess US military equipment that the US government dumps on its chosen allies.The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) pays for the cost of transfer with money that comes from our taxes. The APCs will soon be deployed in Mindanao to target so-called rebels, extremists, and insurgents.
To meet Oplan Bayanihan’s (OB) target, 60 percent of the Philippine troops have been deployed in Mindanao for the sole purpose of crushing communist “insurgency.” By the end of 2015, however, data released by the Communist Party of the Philippines, Mindanao bureau shows hundreds of successful tactical offensives (TOs).
This is very telling of at least two things: 1) Clearly, OB is a failure; 2)so-called communist insurgents in Mindanao are not the villains in the eyes of villagers or community dwellers for how can a group clinch a series of successful TOs without some degree of moral and political legitimacy in a given area?
If the government’s claim were true– that the communist insurgents are obstacles to development in Mindanao–then why don’t ordinary people report on their whereabouts? Why don’t they resist the insurgents by sabotaging their TOs? Can the Aquino government and the AFP be really serious about killing all their suspected supporters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) if that would mean killing thousands upon thousands of ordinary folk? What if an alternative way of living alien to many of us is already among us but only in the hinterlands for now?
In all countries like Mexico, Colombia, Nepal, and India, etc. communist armed offensives are only made possible through a strong mass support. TOs in the history of modern guerilla resistance worldwide are in fact concrete indicators of people power on a small-scale. Where TOs are happening, massive politicizing and organizing are also taking place in the realms of production, education, and community governance. TOs signify pockets of revolutionary spaces seized from the anarchic logic of capital, which, otherwise designates territories as EPZs, mining and logging zones or simply as private.
With our newly acquired American junk from Obama, the AFP and its paramilitary can only unleash heightened violence through harassment, displacement, murder, and destruction of Lumad and Moro communities in Mindanao.
We need to remind ourselves, time and again, that the combined malevolent force that is being unleashed by the Aquino regime and US imperialism through their mercenary troops have no place in the people’s just struggle for peace based on social justice. Sarah Raymundo is a full-time faculty at the University of the Philippines-Center for International Studies (UP-CIS Diliman) and a member of the National Executive Board of the All U.P. Academic Employees Union. She is the current National Treasurer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and the External Vice Chair of the Philippine Anti-Imperialist Studies (PAIS). She is also a member of the Editorial Board of Interface: A Journal for Social Movements.