Volume IV, Number 21. 15 November 2022.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated in no uncertain terms on 8 November that the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program will continue during his term. In the same breath, he cites ‘terrorism’ as justification to use taxpayers’ money to purchase more night-fighting systems capability, transport aircrafts, additional helicopters capable of night flight and more communications and surveillance equipment for police and military forces.

These statements are despicable considering the unrelenting military attacks against rural communities in the Philippines. For instance, in the wee hours of 6 November, the AFP 203rd Infantry Brigade conducted artillery shelling and strafing in the villages of Rizal, Aguas, and Pitogo, in Rizal town, Occidental Mindoro province. The local New People’s Army unit reported that at least 8,000 residents were forced to flee their homes to seek refuge from the terrorist attacks. The current bombardment is taking place just around a month after the AFP shelled the hinterlands of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, terrorizing several indigenous Mangyan communities with around 6,000 residents.

In early October, the AFP subjected the residents of Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental to relentless bombings, unleashing their pent-up frustrations of failed military operations. The bombings resulted in at least 3,650 families forced to leave their homes, pushing the local government to declare a state of calamity.

Since 19 October, weeks-long combat operations are plowing through Toboso and Calatrava towns and Escalante City, in Negros Occidental, perpetrated by armed contingents of the AFP and Philippine National Police 6th Special Action Force. These latest operations further add to the mounting cases of human rights violations committed by the Marcos-Duterte regime.

Under the orders of their new Commander-in-Chief Marcos Jr, state security agents are heightening state terrorism and attacks against the Filipino people. While Marcos Jr. cites ‘external threats’ as reason to welcome US military support, his silence on China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea indicates otherwise. In reality, the Marcos II regime aims to exploit public funds and foreign military aid for its brutal counterinsurgency campaign, victimizing peasant and indigenous communities in the process.

Marcos Jr.’s embrace of US military aid for ‘AFP modernization’ readily exposes him as a tool of US foreign aggression. The real intent is to please US imperialist interests and warmongering, in order to generate greater profits for the US military industrial complex and to fuel futile attempts to crush the armed revolutionary movement. If anything, this goes to show that Marcos Jr. – very much like his father – is a puppet of US machinations and, more importantly, will suffer the same fate as the late dictator.