Ending the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan is necessary to uphold human rights, promote just peace

NDFP Southern Mindanao Region
Press Statement
December 11, 2016

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Mindanao condemns the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and their paramilitaries for their continued implementation of US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, instilling fear, intimidation and terror in Lumad and peasant communities in the region.

The so-called peace and development outreach program (PDOP), which the AFP and the warmongers of the Duterte government downplay as non-combative, persists in harassing and intimidating civilians in 25 towns and cities in the region. Without threat of facing NPA’s punitive and tactical offensives, fascist AFP troops have become more emboldened to go after civilian leaders of peasant organizations and activists. Cases of assault and other forms of physical violence against the masses perpetrated by PDOP teams and operating units of
the AFP were reported in Kibawe, Bukidnon; Compostela, Mawab and Pantukan, Compostela Valley, and; in Loreto, Agusan del Sur; extra-judicial killings by AFP troops and their paramilitaries in Arakan and Magpet in North Cotabato; and harassment of Lumad in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, Kitao-tao, Bukidnon and Loreto, Agusan del Sur.

Nationwide, the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan operations killed 36 and displaced 35,000 civilians; 36 were also victims of frustrated murder under the Duterte administration.

The NPA will not stand idly by while the rights and welfare of the Filipino masses are being trampled upon.

Twice early last month in Cateel, Davao Oriental where the detestable 67th Infantry Battalion-AFP operates, Red fighters flagged down three fully-armed enemy troops on board a motorcycle who were conducting combat intel activities in the interior areas of the town. Aware that they were caught violating the ceasefire order of their principal, the enemy troops promptly surrendered. The Red fighters reminded them that they should adhere to their orders and sent them safely and freely on their way.

The NPA units around the region has consistently shown discipline in adhering to the unilateral interim ceasefire declaration. The NPA has shown their serious commitment to the peace process and respect for human rights and people’s rights. At present when the two belligerent armies of the two existing governments in the Philippines are being weighed on the mettle of their commitment to a just and lasting peace, the Filipino people look to the New People’s Army as their true people’s army.

While the reactionary armed forces carry on victimizing the people, the NPA in Southern Mindanao is using this most opportune time to explain to the masses the importance of their support to the peace negotiations. NPA units with the help of mass organization and organs of political power conduct peace forums in communities within NDF territories and enjoin the masses to put forward their agenda for socio-economic relief. They likewise elucidate the 12-point program of the NDFP as the viable outline in achieving just and lasting peace.
This, while at the same time, consciously maneuvering their units to ensure they do not figure in armed skirmish with marauding troops of the AFP.

NDF-SMR joins the resounding demand of the Filipino people for Pres. Duterte to immediately terminate Oplan Bayanihan that deputizes the AFP, PNP and paramilitaries to perpetrate systematic violation on human rights. In the same vein, the unconditional release of all political prisoners must speedily be undertaken to ensure that the third round of the negotiations in January 2017 will continue on positive ground.


Source: NDFP