Philippine military using Samar "peace" council to rubber-stamp intensified militarization

By NDFP Eastern Visayas

The military is using SIPPAD to rubber-stamp Oplan Bayanihan

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas said today the 8th Infantry Division (of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) is using the Samar Island Partnership for Peace and Development to rubber-stamp the national security program Oplan Bayanihan. “The military has long exerted undue influence on SIPPAD,” said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.

“But the Church-backed multi-sectoral assembly is now making a very dangerous mistake in rubber-stamping the 8th ID’s so-called road projects under Oplan Bayanihan that pretend to have the good signboard of “peace and development.” In fact, Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Oplan Bantay Laya in pursuing the purely military solution to the armed conflict as well as eschewing human rights and international humanitarian law. Soliciting the support of civilian agencies and non-governmental organizations is part of the strategy and tactics of Oplan Bayanihan to camouflage the continuing climate of impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Fr. Salas added that the 8th ID’s military campaign in Samar has all the indications of US intervention, from Oplan Bayanihan itself, to logistical support and the road networks to facilitate troop movement.

“Oplan Bayanihan is based on the US Counterinsurgency Guide, which takes pains to sugarcoat that its core focus is the violent suppression of revolutionary movements inimical to the interests of US imperialism and its puppet regimes. Thus, while 8th ID chief Gen. Mario Chan mouths slogans like “peace and development,” his troops are in fact on offensive operations in Samar and Leyte at this very moment.

The 8th ID has also crowed to the media about receiving new weapons, electronic equipment, and military vehicles from the US. The soon to begin “road to war” sponsored by the US Millenium Challenge Corporation is merely the icing on the cake.”

The NDFP-EV spokesperson also chastised the Catholic Church in Samar for waltzing with the military through SIPPAD.

“Is the Catholic Church in Samar turning its back on the majority of its flock as well as the Christians who were martyred by Oplan Bantay Laya? Remember your flock who are mainly peasants exploited under the present dispensation and oppressed by Oplan Bayanihan. Remember Fr. Cecilio Lucero, Pastor Edison Lapuz, and many other Christians who were victims of political killings and other human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya and that persist to this very day. The Catholic Church in Samar should beware of and reject the vicious example of the clerico-fascist Fr. Romeo Intengan, who advised the Armed Forces of the Philippines that it is acceptable to commit violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the anti-communist crusade of Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Fr. Salas also called on the people to strengthen their militant and revolutionary struggles in the face of the 8th ID’s political and military offensives. “The people must strengthen the struggle for human rights and other mass struggles for basic democratic rights and burning issues. Fight for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and other basic socio-economic reforms. Build the broad alliances to expose and oppose the continuing corruption, puppetry and fascist state terrorism under the Aquino regime. Support and join the revolutionay struggle for social justice, national freedom and democracy.”



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