The AFP’s PR-machinery is working double-time to turn so-called NPA surrenderees into a media spectacle and mount a propaganda offensive to paint the NPA as a waning force. It has been making more frequent and much bigger claims of “NPA surrenderees” as part of its Oplan Kapayapaan psywar operations.
The public should take these claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. It is a well-known fact that the decades-long multi-billion peso “Balik Baril” Program, CLIP (Comprehensive Local Integration Program) and other programs are AFP money-making rackets where field and division commanders recycle “surrendered weapons” and come up with lists of ghost NPA “surrenderees,” typically village-folk falsely accused of being NPA members.
The surrender of a few individuals form part of the realities of war. This, however, does not represent a trend nor does it negate in any way the reasons that compel more and more Filipinos to rise up and resist in various forms of struggle, including the armed struggle.
In fact, while the Duterte regime insists on the NPA to surrender, his burdensome economic policies, clampdown on protests, brutal Oplan Kapayapaan and furious drive to perpetuate itself in power through charter change, give the people compelling reasons to join the NPA. Indeed, just like his idol, the deposed dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, he is becoming the No. 1 recruiter of the NPA.