Mindanaoans must fight against the proliferation of military/CAFGU detachments in Mindanao

The NDFP-Mindanao and the entire revolutionary forces in the island strongly condemn the renewed and intensified effort of the US-Duterte regime and the AFP to put up army/CAFGU detachments in very close proximity to numerous civilian communities in Mindanao. As a key component of the US-Duterte regime’s bloody encirclement and suppression campaign Oplan Kapayapaan and Martial Law, these detachments are used to spy on, intimidate and harass civilians in several barrios, placing civilian communities under grave duress.

Immediately after scuttling the NDFP-GRP formal peace talks, Duterte directed the fascist AFP to launch an all-out attack against the New People’s Army (NPA), revolutionary forces and the masses, most significantly in the island of Mindanao, where 44 of the AFP’s 75 maneuver battalions deployed in the island are in NPA areas.

Army/CAFGU detachments serve to guard and regularly patrol areas where imperialist businesses operate, or their targeted areas of operation. These businesses, such as large- scale mining, agri-plantation and logging, have, for years, exploited the local peoples in Mindanao and have ravaged, almost irreparably, the country’s environment.

The AFP boasts that ever since these detachments “safeguard and ensure development,” which is absolutely false. Detachments, which have spread like a virus since the Marcos and Cory eras until today, are antithetical to genuine development, as they are instruments of the reactionary state and fascist forces in maintaining the backward feudal order of the country, protecting the land and other properties of the landlord class while keeping the peasantry, the Lumad and Moro landless. They only protect the profit-making interests of imperialist companies at the expense of the lives and livelihood of the poor, as well as that of the natural environment.

These detachments also facilitate CAFGU recruitment, which is usually carried out forcibly and in a deceitful manner. Regular AFP elements carry with them a pre-listed set of names of certain civilians who are not even consulted on the matter. Then they apply undue pressure on these individuals so that they will not refuse conscription. A quota of CAFGU recruits are also imposed by the AFP on barangay officials; non-compliance is penalized.

CAFGU recruits are often promised allowance, however, more often than not, this comes delayed if it comes at all; and if it does, it is already slashed by their officers or cadreman. CAFGU allowances are subjected to graft and corruption. At times, their allowances are lent out by their officers under usurious schemes, such as 5/6 (20% interest).

While they suffer from meagre pay, CAFGU recruits labor away like slaves in detachment camps, performing various menial work at the beck and call of their officials who are regular

members of the Philippine Army. These recruits are exploited to no end. They, including members of the paramilitary, Bagani forces and others are also used as hapless pawns and human shield during combat operations.

These army detachments serve as forward deployed forces in areas the AFP perceives as NPA bases. Thus, these detachments cater to the needs of full combat operations a well as during deceptive Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) or Peace and Development Teams (PDT).

The AFP claims that these detachments are “requested” by the people in the communities themselves, while, they claim further, barangay units or LGU’s have “penned” such “resolutions” to support the same. But, given the vile nature of these detachments, barangays, especially the ones in the hinterlands, do not commonly request for these, because they establish their own security system to defend themselves. These so-called “resolutions” are written by the military themselves and imposed upon officials of barangays or towns and have them ratified under duress, browbeating them to create a semblance of a “democratic process.”

In areas where these detachments are active, there is a high incidence of human rights abuses, intimidation and harassment of civilians in communities. These detachments serve as conduit for illicit drugs and other illegal substances, and are often the site of cases of sexual abuse, and even rape. Commonplace are teenage girls who, all of a sudden, become pregnant. AFP troops and CAFGU/paramilitary forces in these detachments are in fact the number one promoter of anti-social activities, such as gambling and thievery; as well as the proliferation of despicable lumpen culture, including adulterous relationships, and promoting harmful penile implants among young boys in many communities.

These detachments are used to closely monitor civilian communities or spy on certain civilians the AFP suspects to be supportive of the revolutionary movement. They aid in the conduct of AFP psychological operations, such as forcing innocent civilians to appear as “NPA surrenderees.”

They foist restrictions upon peasants and Lumad communities (curfew, limit the mobility of the masses and impose food blockade). The imminent threat posed by these army/CAFGU detachments against people’s lives, livelihood, rights and general welfare have resulted in the massive forcible dislocation and evacuation of whole communities. Clearly the AFP’s repeated vilification of the NPA as a “violator of CARHRIHL” is done not just to spread a vicious lie in mainstream and social media but to desperately conceal the truth that the AFP/PNP/CAFGU/paramilitary troops are the foremost violators of human rights, International Humanitarian Laws, the Geneva Conventions and other International protocols and laws.

Having borne the brunt for a long time, many civilian communities have strongly lodged petitions to immediately remove these detachments from their communities and call for the stoppage of the building of new ones.

People of Mindanao – Lumad, Moro and majority peoples, stand united and vigorously fight against the continued operations and proliferation of these army/CAFGU detachments; strongly demand for their immediate removal from communities by way of militant protests, lobbying, media expose, press conferences and other such means. Fight against the continuing combat and psychological operations of the AFP under Oplan Kapayapaan! Down with the US-Duterte regime! #