Rebels accuse Manila of mounting military offensives; resumption of peace talks in peril

September 01, 2010

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 1, 2010) – Philippine communist rebels on Wednesday accused President Benigno Aquino of launching fresh military operations instead of pursuing peace talks that would put an end to decades of bloody fighting in the country.

Rebel leader Jorge Madlos, also a spokesman for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, said Aquino has ordered more deployment of troops and intensify the military operations against the New People’s Army across the country and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mindanao.

He said Oplan Bantay-Laya ended in June this year, but Aquino extended it for shortly after he assumed the presidency. Oplan Bantay-Laya is a codename for the government’s anti-insurgency campaign launched 9 years ago.

“The extension of the Arroyo regime’s brutal nine-year anti-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya exposes Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s real “peace” plan: to step up military offensives against the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front – daydreaming of inducing revolutionary forces to capitulate and to impose its demands on the peace talks consistent with the US Counter Insurgency strategy.”

“Oplan Bantay-Laya supposedly ended last June, but Noynoy Aquino, being the new commander-in-chief who fantasizes of ending the people’s democratic revolution in three years, ordered the fascist AFP to deploy its troops all over the country and intensify the AFP military campaigns and operations against the NPA beyond the Oplan Bantay-Laya June deadline. Since Mr. Aquino’s inauguration on June 30, these nationwide combat operations have been met, with intensified and widespread tactical offensives of the New People’s Army in Mindanao and in other parts of the country,” Madlos said.

He blamed the government’s anti-insurgency campaign for the spate of killings of activists and innocent civilians suspected as rebels in the country.

“Oplan Bantay-Laya spawned the extrajudicial killings of more than a thousand ordinary civilians, peasants and worker leaders, activists, religious and journalists, and committed countless other human rights abuses, including the dislocation of the socio-economic well-being of the people in the countryside,” Madlos said.

He said because of the Oplan Bantay-Laya, rebel forces also intensified its attacks in the country, more particularly in the southern Philippines where the New People’s Army carried out offensive operations in the provinces.

“Clearly, military incidents in Mindanao have escalated as a direct consequence of Oplan Bantay-Laya’s extension. Revolutionary forces only justly, and valiantly, fought back to defend the gains of the revolutionary movement, the masses and the revolutionary forces. Noynoy Aquino cannot play Pontius Pilate and excuse himself from culpability in the abuses and destruction wrought by the escalation of Oplan Bantay-Laya’s bloodbath, because, as the new commander-in-chief of the reactionary state’s armed forces, it is he alone who can authorize these nationwide AFP massive offensives. Mr. Aquino is poised more for war than in creating the favorable atmosphere for just peace,” Madlos said.

Madlos said it is the first time in recent history for a new government to have deliberately opted to wage war nearly as soon as it was installed.

He said previous regimes had some sense to allow military offensives to ebb in their first months in office, but not so in Aquino’s case. “He appears to be in a hurry to please his US imperialist masters, especially in laying the ground for the entry and the increase in profitability of mining companies and foreign-owned plantations such as Xtrata in South Cotabato and Dole Philippines in Surigao del Sur and Compostela Valley, and a host of other foreign monopoly capitalist investments,” he said.

Madlos said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao fears that peace talks are once again in danger of being derailed because of the extension of the Oplan Bantay-Laya which has already led to the escalation of a new cycle of government attacks that may even surpass the Arroyo regime’s bloody campaign.

He appealed to the public to demand the government to pursue the peace process and remove all obstructions that hinder its realization.

Government peace talks with the NPA collapsed in 2004 after rebels accused President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners in the country and the removal of the terrorist tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the NPA. (Mindanao Examiner)

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