CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region — Bicol Region is “priority target” in President Duterte’s order, by Memorandum Order No. 32, to beef up additional deployment of AFP soldiers to crush insurgency, and his calibrating the anti-drug “tokhang” killing machine into higher gear to include activists, dissenters, and civilian rebel sympathizers.
This means more Filipino nationalist blood will be spilled out, and the “blood-letting’ to escalate this year 2019 being “part of collateral damage” as the Duterte administration consolidates its political hold and consolidate its power position to prepare the ground for continuous “iron, strong-man rule.”
This is the dire assessment of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) following recent political developments that saw Duterte ordering the outright killing of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel suspects and alleged sympathizers, and the destruction of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and it’s so-called “legal fronts and infrastructures,” including party lists, non-government organizations, sectoral organizations and even peace advocates.
Duterte is noted for his increasingly rabid and violent rants following the extension of martial law in Mindanao and the deployment of more troops to touted rebel areas in Negros island, Eastern Visayas and the Bicol region under Memorandum Order No. 32.
BAYAN observes the high gear shift of “tokhang” killing spree to include legitimate dissenters, activists, anti-Duterte politicians, civilian sympathizers, and others whom the Duterte power clique wants to silence and intimidate.
“The regime’s way of line of categorizing activists, political dissenters and government critics with the armed revolutionary movement sets up makes those engaged in perfectly legal, not to mention legitimate political activities, as targets of surveillance, intimidation and armed attack by state security forces oriented in brutal, “tokhang”-style operations,” BAYAN said, in a statement released by Ted Casiño, BAYAN National Council member.
According to BAYAN, just this week, in joint operations conducted by the 302nd Infantry Brigade and 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and assisted by the Philippine National Police, at least six persons were killed and 16 arrested in Negros Oriental on the pretext of an intensified anti-drug and anti-criminality campaign.
Human rights groups and residents reported that soldiers and police committed extrajudicial killings, planted evidence, and used spurious warrants against leaders and members of peasant organizations as well as alleged NPA sympathizers. The PNP says they were merely implementing an initial 26 out of 119 search warrants they have secured. Meaning, there will be more.
BAYAN continued: “In Mindanao, Duterte has ordered the arming of more paramilitary recruits among members of Lumad communities while declaring rebels as mere criminals and bandits. This paves the way for even more bloodshed and division among Lumad communities even as the regime facilitates the control of their ancestral lands by powerful corporate and bureaucrat capitalist interests.”
The group said Duterte abhors all forms of criticism and opposition and is now focused on destroying the most vocal, active and organized sectors against his tyrannical rule, including his neoliberal economic policies like the TRAIN law and Build, Build, Build, rehabilitation of the Marcoses and Arroyos, subservience to China and the US, among others. Thus, from suspected drug users and pushers, he is gearing the mass murder and intimidation tactics of Oplan Tokhang to target the Left and anyone remotely connected to it.
By intimidating leftist leaders and their constituencies, jailing or killing them and dismantling their organizations, Duterte hopes to obliterate a known bastion of resistance to his fascist regime, BAYAN said. [BicolToday.com]