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AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan: A rehash of failed, desperate attempts to suppress fundamental freedoms

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through its Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Col. Leopoldo Galon Jr. has once again displayed the arrogance of the state’s prime apparatus in suppressing the democratic people’s struggle. It has unleashed another rehashed script of vilifying legal progressive organizations in an attempt to “sanitize” schools from progressive ideas and principles of liberation and national democracy.

Contrary to his self-congratulatory pronouncement that the AFP is winning the support of the youth and students Col. Galon ended up undermining the “hearts and minds” of the progressive youth of society.

*Academic freedom under attack

As with previous operation plans of the AFP, Oplan Bayanihan still puts school campuses under close watch by the military in pursuit of pacifying legitimate struggles of students. Schools, which are supposed to be the cornerstone of democracy had been subjected to military surveillance that creates a climate of fear - a threat to academic freedom.

As openly admitted by Galon, the AFP is conducting forums and symposiums that maliciously link the legal progressive organizations to the armed revolutionary movement as part of the effort highly-publicized as “Peace and Development” operations.

The AFP, as the mercenary tool of the state must protect the interest of the imperialist US, the bureaucrat capitalists in power and the landlords amidst escalating crisis in economy. In order to save it’s face and protect the interest it’s masters, it must therefore suppress the youth sector from its bold and daring efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize students and the people towards genuine liberation from poverty and oppression.

*The will to fight is born out of necessity

As Education crisis continues unabated under the Aquino administration, the youth is becoming educated by the realities in life say, for instance, those who cannot afford to pay high tuition are not given access to education realizing that educational opportunities in Philippines is limited to one’s ability to pay rather than one’s ability to learn. Upon learning that while number of students dropping out principally because of high cost of tuition, is swelling educational institutions have made agonies of parents and students turn into happiness of their own after gaining much profit from the students.

The implication of a commercialized education fueled the youth’s firm resolve to assert its rights and welfare that the state has always neglected.
Showing contempt over issues raised by the youth and students, the government even exacerbated the condition proven evident in the allocation of budget for education. In 2011 budget proposal Aquino deliberately slashed down funds for State Universities and Colleges from P 23.8B to P23.4B.

Of unwavering stand the youth and students marched the streets to oppose the impending budget cut. Now, that the congress is deliberating for the 2012 national budget the youth together with the people is haunted with the same threat of budget cut on basic social services. Ever ready to fight, the youth under no circumstances will rest vigilance and will continue advancing the national democratic aspirations of the Filipino people.
*To serve and protect?

The AFP will always have something to say about insurgency, it is it’s sworn duty to crush all deemed threat to the state’s security. It has not sworn to protect the people from its oppressors.

We could not imagine how military elements would articulate the root causes of the armed conflict when they have been trained to wage war against the wrong enemies, aiming their guns at our very people. While their spokespersons talk of peace and development, have the AFP really rallied behind the youth’s struggle for free education or higher subsidy for state colleges and universities? Will they rally behind peasants to struggle for landlessness and national industrialization? As an institution AFP will not. It’s elements follow orders.

When the government slashed budget allocation for education, did the Armed Forces of the Philippines think of the plight of the youth? It did not, and it will not. Worse, it’s general rejoices. This as budget cuts on basic social services only means greater budget for them to pursue projects that are designed to deceive the people from understanding the economic causes of insurgency.
*The onward march against the flow

Despite alarming assault on human rights inflicted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines the youth sector, armed with just ideas in unity with the toiling masses will continue to work to effect genuine social transformation.

Having seen injustices and exploitation in our society, no amount of military psy-war offensive will win against the resolve the progressive hearts and minds of the youth to join and amplify the democratic struggle of the Filipino workers and peasantry.

It is the character of the youth to defy every crisis and to desire for genuine change. The progressive youth will ever be resolved to oppose the ruling system that only serves the interests of the ruling elite at the expense of suppressing people’s legitimate struggles.

The AFP will always try to suppress these struggles by the people. It has done all these in the past as with Oplan Bantay Laya I and II. It failed and it will always fail. (kabataan.smr@gmail.com)

By Kabataan Davao




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