The National Democratic Front of the Philippines chapter in Negros Island asserted on 13 August that the “all-out assault” of state security forces in central Negros to protect the interests of big business, landlords and compradors will pave “a clearer path for the people to support armed revolution.”

Bayani Obrero, NDFP-Negros Spokesperson, revealed that various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police protect large-scale mining operations in the mountain ranges of Binalbagan and Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental province and Tayasan and La Libertad in Negros Oriental. These operations, he said, are detrimental to the lives and livelihood of the peasant and Maghat-Bukidnon indigenous communities. “Quarry operations along the Hilabangan river have also damaged ricefields and farmlots while endangering populations vulnerable to landslides and floods,” Obrero added.

“More than a month into the Marcos regime, mercenary troops of the AFP launched vicious strikes against the rural population of Guihulngan City, Canlaon City and Vallehermoso in Negros Oriental and Binalbagan, Isabela, La Castellana, Moises Padilla and Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental, in utter disregard for International Humanitarian Law,” Obrero said.

He added that AFP officials habitually claim “fake encounters” with the New People’s Army to cover-up their crimes against the people. “Army commanders siphon kickbacks from budgets for military operations and collect merits and promotions handed out after each ‘successful’ military operation – usually involving the brutal murders of unarmed civilians (including children) and hors de combat.”

The rural communities in Negros Island suffer from landlessness, widespread hunger, depressed wages and soaring prices. Dependent on the sugarcane industry, they additionally suffer joblessness during the off-milling season. Obrero asserted, “The AFP has only added insult to injury by intensifying their attacks despite the worsening socioeconomic crisis.”

Newly-installed AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Vicente Bacarro recently ordered his troops to step up its “operational tempo” against the NPA. Obrero affirmed that this all-out assault “… will pose many problems to Bacarro’s scheme as this will pave a clearer path for the people to support armed revolution.”