If the National Democratic Front-Negros is to be believed, the Oplan Bayanihan campaign of the military in Negros is a failure.
Frank Fernandez, local NDF spokesman, said the New People’s Army and other revolutionary forces in Negros have successfully confronted, resisted and will continue to frustrate the Oplan Bayanihan campaign.
The strong and sustained combat military operations, intelligence and CMO (Civil Military Operations) of the AFP and PNP that they have perfumed with the psywar slogans of “whole nation approach, paradigm shift to peace and development approach” have all failed, Fernandez claimed.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, however, maintains that the insurgency problem in Negros is already in an irreversible trend, citing the big reduction of NPA armed strength from its peak of 1,200 in the late 1980s to merely 200 last year.
More than 50 former NPA members have also surrendered to the military since May last year, he said. They also availed of livelihood and financial assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
However, Fernandez, in his statement, despite the all-out military campaign, claimed that the NPA in Negros has preserved itself and has accumulated strength, and maintained its guerilla front and mass base.
It has been five years since the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya from 2008 to 2010, and the Bayanihan campaign in 2011 in Negros, the AFP Central Command and the 3rd Infantry Division, which boastfully claim to finish their mission every year, had extended their timetable, because of their failures, he said.
Because of their accumulated failures, Fernandez said, the AFP and PNP vent their ire by attacking the progressive forces and people’s movement in the urban centers, and launched sustained “white area clearing operation” that is primarily manifested by extra-judicial killings, filing of fabricated criminal charges and illegal arrests.
He added that more than 60 progressive forces were slapped with arrest warrants in connivance with military and police officials, as well as government prosecutors and judges.* GPB