By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
Harmonizing government efforts with Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) means more intensified fascist attacks says BAYAN Bicol after President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his 4th State Of the Nation Address (SONA), July 22.
In his SONA, Duterte said he has taken the helm of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and has assigned a Cabinet member to each region to harmonize government efforts in attaining national development and security.
However, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Bicol reiterated the (AFP) rules and monitors the programs of national agencies and local government units according to the national security strategy “Whole of Nation Approach”.
“It uses the entire machinery and resources of the government to completely suppress the revolutionary movement, including those in the legal and progressive movement of the people until 2022,” said Dan Balucio, BAYAN Bicol secretary general.
Duterte administration expects support for legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening defense-related systems such as the proposed National Defense Act, the Unified Military and Uniformed Personnel Separation, Retirement, and Pension Bill, and the revival of the mandatory ROTC in Grades 11 and 12.
“We are aware of the fact that there are times in AFP and PNP personnel, while in the performance of their duties, get unjustly sued. Providing them with free legal assistance to help and boost their morale,” Duterte said during his SONA.
The militarization of the bureaucracy is intensifying according to BAYAN Bicol since EO 70 has been implemented.
Former military and police former generals make up one-third (1/3) of Duterte’s Cabinet at the end of 2018. More than 60 retired AFP and PNP officers are appointed in the high ranks. The latest is May’s appointment to a retired general, Ricardo Morales, as the administrator of Philhealth while former AFP colonel and Senator Gregorio Honasan is the new DICT Secretary.
“Duterte will never stop to control the Congress to ensure that anti-people and anti-national laws are passed. The Duterte regime intensifies fascist attacks and repression through the comprehensive and fiercer anti-insurgency Oplan Kapanatagan – unending killings in Mindanao under martial law, and militarization in Negros, Samar and Bikol under Memorandum 32,” Balucio said.
In Bicol, 63 were victims of extrajudicial killings, mostly farmers. Political killings are not only in the countryside but also in the cities. The rebel returnees are used tools in propagating EJKs in the region. Activists have been charged with trumped-up cases and red-tagging are widespread.
Hours before Duterte’s SONA, progressive groups in the region staged simultaneous protest actions in the cities of Naga, Legazpi, Sorsogon, and Masbate chanting “Sobra na! Tama na! Wakasan na!” against Duterte. (BaretangBikolnon.com)