AFP Eastern Mindanao says communist-led Duterte ouster plot bound to fail

Published September 26, 2018, 2:59 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Francis Wakefield

Armed Forces of the Philippines-Eastern Mindanao Command (AFP-EastMinCom) Chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Wednesday expressed belief that communist mobilization in Mindanao, especially in Davao, in an attempt to oust President Rodrigo Duterte as part of the “Red October” plot is bound to fail.

Lt. General Benjamin Madrigal (PIA / MANILA BULLETIN)
Lt. General Benjamin Madrigal

In a statement, Madrigal said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Terrorist Group (CNTG) has long wanted to overthrow the democratic government and replace it with an authoritarian socialist form, which has since pulled down the country’s growth and development.

“It aims to foment continuing unrest by way of agitation among the urban poor and rural peasant communities,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal scited Davao and CARAGA Regions where the CNTG, through their front organizations, carry their special lumad/indigenous peoples (IP) campaign narratives such as “Bakwit Lumad”, “Attack on IP schools,” and “Lakbay Lumad” (Lakbay Europe, Lakbayan or Manilakbayan).

Madrigal also cited AFP information that CNTG will mobilize different groups and sectors in the different regions to oust Duterte. Included in the areas being considered are Davao and Caraga regions where they will use the above narratives to achieve a critical mass.

“This will be backed up by hyping the issue of alleged extrajudicial killings, attack on lumad communities, and human rights violations,” Madrigal stated.

Madrigal also claimed that during the Law Enforcement Operations in General Santos City on July 4, 2018, high ranking CTG personalities planned mass mobilizations to oust the president.

“These pieces of information reveal that the mobilization will be in line with the red letter dates, which include September 21, 2018, during the commemoration of the martial law declaration and Peasant Week on the 3rd week of October,” Madrigal said.

Madrigal said that while the government is finding legal ways and means to uplift socio-economic conditions and bring peace to communities, the CNTG continuously employs threats and coercion and obstructs the implementation of 15 government and non-government projects intended for the poor when their extortion demands were not met.

This year, he said the NPAs allegedly liquidated six tribal leaders in eastern Mindanao who were suspected as military informants, or for allegedly being anti-communist and for protecting their tribe and domains from being infiltrated by communist ideology.

“All these efforts to mobilize communities and groups, particularly the IPs as a prelude to creating the so-called “favorable” situation to oust President Duterte is bound to fail. The people, the IPs and other marginalized communities in eastern Mindanao are now feeling the sincerity, generosity, and compassion of the government with the socio-cultural and economic interventions being delivered by the local governments,” Madrigal said.

“This is being backed up by the convergence of efforts of different agencies led by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples through their ancestral domain and socioeconomic programs such as health, education, livelihood and skills development programs,” he said.

“Further, the NPA in Eastern Mindanao is losing leaders, elements, supporters, and firearms through the relentless focused military operations and community support programs being conducted by different units in Mindanao,” he added.

Madrigal said since January 1, 2018, 659 NPA regulars, 910 members of the Milisyang Bayan and 285 members of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad surrendered to the Government while 7, 294 members of the Underground Mass Organizations withdrawn their support with the NPA.

“In fact, from January 2017 to Sept 23, 2018, 256 NPA rebels who are IPs surrendered and are now being processed to be enrolled in the Enhance Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-CLIP). Several leaders of former CPP/NPA-influenced tribal communities like that of Datu Gibang Apoga have gone back to the fold of the law and are now being welcomed by the government through the same program,” he said.

Madrigal said for the past two weeks, three high ranking NPAs were neutralized in Eastern Mindanao with the commander of the Pulang Bagani Command 3 identified as alias Ivy was killed in an encounter at Cabarisan, Sibulan, Toril, Davao City on September 16, 2018.

On September 17, the front secretary of Guerilla Front 51 identified as Jecko was killed in an encounter with the government troops at Flortam, Batasan, Makilala, North Cotabato. On September 24, the front secretary of Guerilla Front 73 was arrested in Surallah, South Cotabato.

Madrigal said the right- based program implementation in Mindanao has the support of Mindanaoans. “In this regard, we are calling on the cooperation of everyone. The people of Eastern Mindanao deserve to have a peaceful regional environment conducive for development,” he said.

“The continuous armed struggle will only bring death, misery, hate, anger, and poverty. Let us all join hands and harmonize all our efforts to solve lingering issues and improve the living conditions of the people through the framework of good governance, inclusive growth, and development and enhanced human security,” he added.