Philippines: What kind of peace do the people need? Revolutionary fighters on the deceptive call for a ‘peace zone’

Philippine Revolution Web Central

To Achieve Genuine and Lasting Peace, Roots of the Armed Conflict Must Be Addressed

Magno Udyaw, Spokesperson, NPA Mountain Province (Leonardo Pacsi Command)
December 04, 2011

The Leonardo Pacsi Command of the NPA-Mountain Province denounces the sham consultations and fabricated referendums being conducted by the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in the various municipalities of the province. Reports coming from the participants in the last PPOC “dialogue” held in Aguid, Sagada last November 16 indicate that PNP personnel including escorts of Philippine National Police regional director Gen. Benjamin Magalong and personnel from various provincial and municipal line agencies who went along with Gov. Leonard Mayaen were allowed to cast their votes.

Indicative of the previous informal plebiscites held in five other municipalities earlier, the question written in the ballots furnished to the registered participants was not about the peace zone, but formed as “Do you want peace – Yes, No, Undecided”. This deceptive formulation coupled with delegate-stacking maneuvers clearly reveals the bullying tactics of the provincial government in calling for a province-wide peace zone. Who would not want peace, but on what basis and of what kind?

To be sure, the NPA also exercise peacekeeping tasks and implement revolutionary laws in guerilla zones. It is responsible for peace and order in the area of its responsibility in accordance with the existing quasi-government and government functions of the various organs of political governance.

While no clear definition and direction of the peace zone has been furnished by Governor Mayaen and other proponents, the public has been grossly misinformed and duped that under existing internal security plans of the reactionary government (another term for counter-insurgency plans), it mandates that other armed state components are intact and in-place while the army may be temporarily pulled out and assigned to a nearby area. These local forces may be the CAFGU-CAA and other paramilitary units like the CPLA together with the PNP forces. And at any opportune time, the mercenary army can always enter a declared peace zone by concocting any flimsy reason or for no reason at all. Essentially, the AFP is never removed. The peace zone fits in their counter-insurgency operations and this is clearly shown in Oplan Bayanihan. Their real target is to disarm and deny the right of the oppressed masses to defend themselves against the onslaught of the coercive instruments of the reactionary state, through their true people’s army and likewise deny the national minorities including the people of the Cordilleras including Mountain Province the right to defend their ancestral lands and its resources.

Localized peace zones will never exist as long as the semi-colonial, semi-feudal socio-political setup exists. Governor Mayaen must be faulted for stating that peace talks should be relegated to the national level, international humanitarian laws left to multinational organizations while the peace zone is implemented at the provincial level. Truly, this provincial governor serves the interests of the oppressive ruling system and in particular, the counterrevolutionary aims of Oplan Bantay Laya to sabotage the people’s struggle in achieving genuine and lasting peace.

Furthermore, implementing international humanitarian laws are not the sole responsibility of foreign or multilateral organizations, but by the masses themselves who are directly involved in the peace process by monitoring adherence to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) at the grassroots level.

Local government units are not neutral but are part and parcel of the ruling reactionary status quo. No governor has ever stopped the AFP from encroaching its territory in the past. In fact, Mr. Mayaen is an integral part of the local implementors of Oplan Bayanihan whose particular role is to peddle a bogus type of peace.The 1991 experience in Sagada itself, which Mayaen claims to be the success model of “peace zones”, refutes this thesis when, despite the supposed declaration in the municipality, three battalions of the 702nd Infantry Brigade (the 24th IB, 68th IB and 69th IB) were deployed first in the central and western section of the province and eventually in the entire MP. While at it, Mayaen served as Political Analyst of the 702nd IBde then. This traitor, together with retired General Jovito Palparan who headed the 24th IB then as a major at that time, established what Marcos failed during martial law in recruiting CAFGU forces that sustained a virtually militarized Sagada-Besao as an aftermath of the so-called “peace zone” declaration.

The revolutionary forces stand for genuine and lasting peace, and not the peace of the graves as the peace zone proponents clamor for. To succeed, peace talks must address the root causes of conflict. Who does not want progress and peace and order for the nation? If change could be achieved through peacefull means, so much the better. No one wants unnecessary bloodshed. But when the oppressive and plundering ruling classes with their military stooges, at the baton of their imperialist masters, themselves disturb the peace, grabbing ancestral lands and destroying natural resources in the process, then there is no recourse but to engage in armed struggle.

The big comprador bourgeoisie alongside with the big landlords and big bureacrat capitalists will not give up their powers at all costs.Therefore, without the NPA, the people are disarmed and defenseless and have no hope of achieving just and lasting peace. Red fighters are the weapons of the people against oppression and exploitation, and in changing the unjust and decadent ruling system. All structures of oppression and exploitation must be shattered in order to establish a democratic, progressive, just and peaceful society. So, all armed components of this present anti-people state must be destroyed in order to win the revolutionary war. Based on this, all fascist troops in detachments and patrol bases are legitimate targets of the NPA, with abusive elements such as those with blood debts to the people first in the list for revolutionary punishment. But the NPA ensures that tactical offensives are launched without causing harm to the people it serves. It fully implements humanitarian laws of war, including CARHRIHL. The NPA treats captives humanely and gives medical attention to the wounded and hors d’combat. This is the principled and iron discipline of the NPA that the people cherishes.

What Mayaen passes off as a referendum of sorts is not only an exercise in futility but counter-revolutionary treachery. The people of the Mountain Province cannot be hoodwinked. Like the fraudulent and scandalous P5,000 per month incentive for 37 reported “rebel returnees”, the peace zone proposal will be thrown into the dustbin of history.

Rebolusyon Kayet!

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