The beat­ing of war drums

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

H AVE in­ten­si­fied, and it looks like the peo­ple of Ne­gros are in for a big­ger, fiercer and longer war.

Af­ter the mas­sive de­ploy­ment in Ne­gros of ad­di­tional army bat­tal­ions, hun­dreds of in­tel­li­gence com­pa­nies and spe­cial op­er­a­tions teams, and the most re­cent de­ploy­ment of hun­dreds of newly trained po­lice spe­cial forces, Pres­i­dent Duterte also gave a march­ing or­der to all sol­diers and po­lice forces to give the CPP-NPA what they de­serve, with equal bru­tal­ity.

In re­sponse, the CPP-NPA lead­er­ship have like­wise or­dered its armed guer­ril­las and par­ti­san op­er­a­tives to in­ten­sify their tac­ti­cal of­fen­sives against all state se­cu­rity forces, in­clud­ing DDS or Duterte Diehard Sup­port­ers in­volved in at­tack­ing pro­gres­sive lead­ers and or­di­nary cit­i­zens.

So chances are, this gen­er­a­tion and maybe the next, will un­likely ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of peace, but will only live in the deaf­en­ing sounds of bul­let and canon fires, and the ir­ri­tat­ing hums of the state at­tack he­li­copters and fighter jets.

Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2016, then Mayor Duterte kept on re­peat­ing one of his prom­ise that he will re­store peace in the en­tire land and re­duce the state ex­pen­di­tures on de­fense and se­cu­rity and con­vert the funds to im­prove farm equip­ment and tools and raise agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity.

The con­trary has hap­pened. Peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDFP was stalled sev­eral times and fi­nally shut down in late 2018. AFP and PNP com­bat­ants and sup­port units in­creased sev­eral fold, and so their fire­power, salaries and the over­all de­fense and se­cu­rity bud­get. Counter in­sur­gency op­er­a­tions in­ten­si­fied in ru­ral areas es­pe­cially in in­dige­nous peo­ples com­mu­ni­ties. Mar­tial law was im­posed through­out Min­danao us­ing the Marawi siege.

Mil­i­ta­riza­tion in­ten­si­fied and spread out to ma­jor is­lands of the ar­chi­pel­ago, in­volv­ing more check­points, tighter bor­ders con­trol, cur­fews, pa­trol op­er­a­tions, con­trol of civil­ian move­ments, sol­diers en­camp­ments in towns and barangay cen­ters, among oth­ers.

It is Ne­grosanons’ bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence in the past decades that when mil­i­ta­riza­tion oc­curs, es­pe­cially with big­ger sol­diers en­camp­ments in ru­ral areas, pro­longed com­bat pa­trols, in­tense psy­war and in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions, the armed in­sur­gents would only be gloat­ing over big­ger op­por­tu­ni­ties to wipe out op­er­at­ing sol­diers, seize more high pow­ered ri­fles and am­mu­ni­tion to arm hun­dreds and thou­sands of their mass sup­port­ers al­ready ori­ented for pro­tracted war.

And as usual, the state se­cu­rity forces who could hardly catch up with the highly mo­bile guer­ril­las, would turn to pro­gres­sive lead­ers in the com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing the un­armed, and even in­no­cent civil­ians, to ex­act re­venge for their com­bat losses. At their worse, they would con­duct sus­tained and mas­sive search and de­stroy op­er­a­tions in and around sus­pected guer­ril­las lairs.

Would the state se­cu­rity forces re­ally walk their talk in claim­ing they are trans­formed now, well ori­ented on mat­ter of re­spect and de­fense of hu­man rights, and even on ob­ser­vance of in­ter­na­tional pro­to­cols on the con­duct of war and han­dling of war pris­on­ers, and won’t ever re­peat again their bru­tal­i­ties dur­ing the mar­tial years and im­me­di­ate post Mar­cos regime era?

I heartily re­spect their claims and dec­la­ra­tions, but many times, I tend to be in dis­be­lief be­cause facts and re­ports sim­ply point to the con­trary, to the same sce­nario as in the Mar­cos times.

The mas­sive de­ploy­ment of troops in Ne­gros and else­where, in­ten­si­fied mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, the in­crease in mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity bud­get, the in­crease in sol­diers pay and ben­e­fits, and not the least, the con­stant ex­hor­ta­tion of the Pres­i­dent him­self for his all sup­port for his troops and against peace­ful so­lu­tions to the roots of war - are clear proof that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has shut down the road to peace, and in­ten­si­fies the beat­ing of its war drums.

Cer­tainly the CPPNPA forces and sup­port­ers are not cowed. With the be­hav­iors and con­duct of the rul­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion and the em­bold­ened state se­cu­rity forces well pro­tected and sup­ported by the pres­i­dent, the in­creas­ing in­ter­nal and in­ter­na­tional pres­sures on the ad­min­is­tra­tion, ev­ery­thing seems only work­ing to the big­ger tac­ti­cal and strate­gic ad­van­tage of the CPP-NPANDFP, who thrives on the strength of their ide­o­log­i­cal and or­ga­ni­za­tion, and fired up by the wors­en­ing eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal crisis in the coun­try.

Still, I hope and pray that some doors are still open for giv­ing peace process an­other shot for good. God bless us all.*

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.