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Philippines: Resist US-Marcos regime’s plan to turn Samar to howling wilderness

By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the US-Marcos regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the deployment of an excessive number of counterinsurgency troops in Samar over the past weeks.

The fascist surge aims to turn the Samar island back into a “howling wilderness,” in the same manner that US colonial forces sought to crush the patriotic resistance of the people of Samar at the turn of the century. This excessive deployment of combat troops will not solve the socioeconomic problems of the people of Samar, but will only aggravate their hardships. The fascist surge will bring nothing but terror to the people of Samar. It, however, is bound to be frustrated by the revolutionary masses and people’s army in Samar and Eastern Visayas.

Since December, more than 1,000 Army soldiers have been deployed to Samar to augment the 21 battalions of enemy troops already operating in the region under the 8th Infantry Division. The purported aim of this massive deployment is to “crush the four remaining guerrilla fronts” of the New People’s Army (NPA), specifically in Northern Samar. These additional armed troops belong to the 74th Infantry Battalion (from Basilan), the 42nd IB (from the Quezon-Bicol area) and the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion. In addition, the AFP deployed more than 550 new combat troops who completed their training in Camp Eugenio Daza in Hinabangan, Samar last February 20.

These units of the AFP are notorious for attacking civilian communities and perpetrating rampant rights violations. The 4th SRC, in particular, faces numerous complaints in Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental. The 42nd IB is also notorious for its role in implementing Memorandum Order 32 which placed Bicol, Samar and Negros under military rule. The 42nd IB is among the perpetrators of the AFP’s rampage of killings in Bicol, murdering one victim every week since 2018.

Violations of human rights and international humanitarian law perpetrated by the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) have been rampant in Samar and the whole of the Eastern Visayas. Under the counterinsurgency campaign of the AFP and PNP, people belonging to all types of mass organizations have been made targets for suppression, since the issuance of Memorandum Order 32.

The AFP has blurred the lines between armed combatants and civilians by considering mass organizations in Samar fighting for land and peasant rights, and defending democratic rights, as being armed rebels. Their members are targeted by the AFP as combatants, subjected to surveillance, harassment and intimidation, arrests and killings, and forced to “surrender” without any legal or judicial process. Entire villages and communities are placed under military hamlet control where their rights are severely restricted. The AFP has also carried out a terrorist wave of aerial bombardment in Samar that target fields, forests and nearby communities. Children have not been spared from violent attacks by the military as shown by the killing of two teenagers by troops of the 20th who indiscriminately fired their weapons in Barangay Roxas, Catubig, Northern Samar last February 8, 2022. Human rights defenders and alternative media practitioners, themselves, have been imprisoned in the hope of silencing the people of Eastern Visayas and preventing them from exposing the truth.

With the deployment of more than a thousand combat troops, the AFP will again turn Samar into a howling wilderness adapting the scorched earth tactics of US colonial forces during the Filipino American war, as well as those applied in the US counterguerrilla war in Vietnam. These tactics, however, are bound to fail as these only further expose the rottenness of the ruling system and inflame the people’s anger against the ruling classes of exploiters and oppressors.

Faced with relentless fascist suppression and worsening socioeconomic oppression and exploitation, the people of Samar and the entire Eastern Visayas region have no other option but to fight back through all forms of resistance. They must strengthen and consolidate their organizations. The canons and bombs of the AFP will ultimately prove futile as the broad masses of the people of Samar courageously act and rise up as one body.

The CPP calls on all commands and units of the NPA in Samar and Eastern Visayas to continue waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever expanding and deepening mass base. They must exert all efforts to spread the flames of the armed revolution. They must be ready to recruit and train more Red fighters as the broad masses of the people are determined to join the armed resistance to defend themselves against the terrorist state.

The NPA in Samar and in the Eastern Visayas region continue to master the war of quick and clandestine maneuvers and ssiduously carry out the tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting to keep the enemy deaf and blind. They can carry out strikes where and when the enemy least expects it and employ the tactic of feigning to the east and striking in the west. They are determined to mount basic tactical offensives, combined with widespread armed actions, including special partisan operations, and mobilization of militia units, to take away the enemy’s initiative and disrupt its plans. They continue to strengthen their ties with the peasant masses by helping carry out their antifeudal struggles and addressing their urgent social and economic needs.

The regional and various levels of Party leadership are determined to build the revolutionary mass movement in the cities and countryside of Eastern Visayas. The broad masses of oppressed and exploited classes are being aroused, organized and mobilized to fight for their urgent demands for alleviation from the economic crisis and calamities including wage increases for workers, lowering of land rent and loan interests, fare farmgate prices and other urgent agrarian reforms, and others.

They people of Eastern Visayas are determined to link up with the urgent struggle against rising US military intervention, especially as American troops increase their presence in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, and other parts of the region, as part of its war preparations; and denounce US supplying of weapons and military equipment for the AFP used for the suppression of the Filipino people.

The Party calls on the Filipino people, human rights defenders, church people, workers, students, women, artists and all other democratic sectors, to link-up arms and help the people of Samar and Eastern Visayas expose the crimes being perpetrated by the AFP in the course of its futile counterinsurgency drive.

Led by the Party, the people and revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas are determined to rise, resolutely fight and wage widespread resistance against the US-Marcos regime’s fascist state terrorism and frustrate its aim of transforming Samar into a howling wilderness.

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