Kabataan Partylist condemns the military’s “intensified pursuit operations” in Malibcong, Abra. “The only casualties here are the community and the people. This is madness! This is terror!”, Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said.
On March 16, four (4) fighter jets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) indiscriminately dropped bombs on Malibcong, Abra as part of the combat operations of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the 7th Infantry Division otherwise known as the notorious “Palparan Division”.
According to reports from the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) and local organizations, the bombs razed the forested part of Barangay Lat-ey in Bangilo and affected the uma or swidden farms, grazelands and rice fields of the Tingguians belonging to the Mabaka, Banao and Gubang tribes.
At least 14 bombs were dropped in forests and farmlands affecting at least 56 families, including around 200 children. Classes were suspended in the area in the midst of the operation.
On March 18, two days later, Kabataan Partylist members in the local chapter, namely Antonio Ambalneg Jr. and Joshua Gumatay, KPL-Malibcong Chapter secretary-general, were also illegally arrested for their alleged ties with the New People’s Army (NPA), and detained for about 7 hours.
The youth party joins the community in condemning this attack on the people’s livelihood and welfare, under the continuing military operations under the AFP’s flagship counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, further fanned by Duterte’s declaration of ‘all-out war’, pronouncements of ‘flattening the hills’ and disregarding ‘collateral damage’.
“All that Duterte is disregarding here is the people,” Elago said.
“Instead of tackling legitimate issues of agriculture, education, and the roots of armed conflict, Duterte and the AFP is quick in pillaging the mountains, killing the people and limping their livelihoods, especially for our national minorities,” Elago added.
The lawmaker calls on the youth and the people to reprimand Duterte and his cohorts in the AFP for the intensifying fascism under Oplan Kapayapaan and his administration’s fascist maneuvers against the people and the poor.
“Despite pronouncements to continue the peace talks, Duterte’s all-out offensives and terror will only prompt resistance to Duterte’s sham and anti-people ‘change.’ Expect the people to briskly fight back,” Elago said.
Elago calls on the youth and the people to march against the continued state fascism on March 21. ###