THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines recently unveiled a campaign that it claimed would support the government’s development efforts while addressing internal security threats. Called Development Support and Security Plan Kapayapaan, the new campaign is supposed to replace the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan or “Oplan Bayanihan” that expired on Dec. 31, 2016.
Kapayapaan is the Filipino word for peace, but the counter-insurgency program is tailored to perpetuate state fascism through militarization and wholesale abuse of human rights. AFP spokesperson Capt. Rhyan Batchar said the difference between Kapayapaan and Bayanihan is that the new campaign is geared toward sustaining peace.
But it is really a counter-insurgency program that may worsen human rights violations under President Duterte.
Davao Today reported last Jan. 23 the killing of Veronico Delamente, a Surigao indigenous people leader and anti-mining activist. He was gunned down in Punta Naga, Brgy. Caagdianao just in time for a Lumad-Mamanwas meeting for the Indigeneous People’s Survey with National Commission on Indigeneous Peoples representatives in Suriao del Norte.
Delamente had fought for the rights of Mamanwa against large-scale nickel mining by Adnama Mining Resource Inc., Tag-anito Mining Company-Nickel Asia Corp., Platinum Group Metals Corp. and Claver Mineral Development Corp. operating within their ancestral lands.
Government complicity in the killing is evident. Delamente’s assailants, in fact, were not apprehended despite the presence of a military detachment of the Task Force Diamond of the Philippine Army in the area.
One of the four strategic concepts of Oplan Kapayapaan is the active support to law enforcement in war against drugs, where until today no one is held accountable for the vigilante-style killings.
Filipinos praise Duterte’s war on drugs, saying that this will end the problem of drug use and abuse in the country. But it is the same person they praise who pronounces that those killed, especially children in his campaign, are just “collateral damages.” Worse, it is not only the police who strongly participate in this campaign, even ordinary FIlipino people are encouraged to kill drug addicts.
Of course, Filipino fanatics will follow our deranged president for he himself personally killed drug suspects during his time as Davao Mayor.
Despite the monstrous flak for the spate of killings, Oplan Kapayapaan will only strengthen police force, abetting their wholesale killings and violation of human rights.
Government’s actions are not geared towards sustaining peace. Duterte and his police minions do not even know how to correctly address the root cause of drug addiction. The poorest of Filipinos will not involve themselves in decadent activities if the root cause of poverty is properly addressed, if we can stop colonial and commercialized education, achieve genuine land reform and give our workers the right and just salary.
Oplan Kapayapaan, perhaps, meant that it will sustain peace by killing FIlipinos who are thirsty for genuine and radical change in the society. It is the new face of terror and a machinery to perpetuate state fascism and become puppets of the imperialist United States.