The 39th IB’s ‘Peace & Development’ Troops
are Waging a Brutal War in Davao del Sur*
Ka Edilberto Mahusay
Alex Ababa Command,
F-71 - FarSouth Mindanao Region
May 23, 2011
‘Peace and Development’ Troops of the 39th IB – AFP who were conducting a vicious military operation in Brgy Pangaleon, Malita, Davao del Sur once again were repelled by snipers and the Yunit Milisya of the New People’s Army under the Alex Ababa Front Operations Command – F71 on 20 May 2011 at about eight in the morning. In this attrition operation, two government troopers were hit and had to be airlifted straight back to the 39th IB headquarters. No media has been invited to report the gory details of how ‘peace and development’ troops have conducted their terroristic activities and suffered casualties in the hands of the Red fighters and the peasant masses.
And while the 39th IB’s Lt Col. Oliver Artuz (who is a look alike of the infamous Gen Jovito Palparan) has been trying hard to convince the people of the Army’s changed image of “peace and development”, his men in the field seem to have a difficult time adjusting to this new façade. In the presence of the poor lumad farmers and settlers of Davao del Sur, the 39th IB’s true color comes out as an out and out fascist force terrorizing the people into submission, sowing intrigues among lumad clans and paving the way for mining and agribusiness activities of the comprador big bourgeoisie in tandem with large transnational companies.
Truth to tell, the AFP is neither for peace nor development but is a most vicious war machine designed to protect the interests of the imperialists and the local ruling elite. The masses know this very well. No amount of cosmetic operations and peace rhetorics will wipe out the long list of human rights violations and other atrocities of the 39th IB in Malita, and in many other areas of Davao del Sur such as the towns of Kiblawan, Magsaysay and Matanao with its rich, mineral and agricultural lands. The 39th IB has also been protecting the large-scale mining of Xstrata-SMI in the mountains of Kiblawan due to operate its open pit mine in the next few years – one of the most disastrous industries which will pollute our rivers and our seas and drive our people deeper into poverty.
No amount of coordination and mobilization of local government units and government agencies in the civil-military operations of Oplan Bayanihan will ever change the image of a brutal, corrupt AFP whose human rights violations and criminal atrocities have been duly imbedded in the collective memory of its victims.
Oplan Bayanihan will never be able to force the people into turning their back against the NPA, the people’s true army. If the the AFP thinks it can wipe out the NPA in two or three years’ time, as Oplan Bantay Laya tried to do but failed, then the truth will have to be told all over again, through the people’s protracted war.