OPAPP:KALAHI, SIP, PDC, PAMANA:COUNTER-INSURGENCY PROGRAM?

The following is the blue-print of Government Framework Under KALAHI Para sa Kalayaan Program being Implemented by OPAPP and other Gov’t Agencies:

Background and Rationale

The KALAHI PARA SA KALAYAAN PROGRAM emanates from the following mandates:

  • Executive Order No. 3, which calls for a comprehensive and community-based peace process
  • Agenda No. 9, i.e. a just end to the peace process by 2010
  • National Peace Plan to achieve Agenda No. 9, as incorporated in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, which calls for, among others, the rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas
  • Presidential directive to identify showcase barangays for peace and development

GRP Guiding Principles and Policies:

  1. Human security
  2. Consistency of the peace agenda with core national interests, namely national harmony, sovereignty and territorial integrity, economic well-being, welfare of the Filipinos, and preservation of national values
  3. Primacy of the peace process
  4. Respect of and compliance with the international humanitarian law

GRP Objective:

Ø  To transform communist insurgency-affected barangays into peace and development areas.

In particular:

  1. To uproot the political-military structure of rebel groups in the conflict-affected barangays
  2. To empower these barangays, as showcase areas, in building and sustaining peace and development

TARGET

  • RPM-P/RPA-ABB areas for development
  • RPMM areas
  • CPLA areas
  • CPP-NPA areas

GRP CRITERIA/CONSIDERATIONS IN SELECTION OF BARANAGAY

  • Accessibility
  • Clustering of barangays
  • Doability of a project in the cluster
  • Socio-political environment conducive for development

GRP Basic Implementing Strategy

GRP Convergence and human security-based approach to be adopted as follows:

I- Role of the AFP (Right hand Approach):

  1. Clear the target barangays of the armed elements of the rebel groups during the conflict management phase
  2. Hold and support consolidation of the area
  3. Support development, with the Engineering Brigade undertaking the construction of all basic infrastructures in the target barangays, particularly:
  • access road
  • school building
  • water supply system
  • electricity
  • Peacekeeping operations (military operations like tactical,offensive, CMO, establishment of CVO, CAFGU, civilian intel & support groups, etc)

II-Role of the Civilian Agencies (Left-hand approach):

GRP Original direction: Provision of livelihood and other social development services in the context of:

  • Conflict prevention and management, including peace constituency building and confidence building
  • Peacekeeping, through peace dialogues and for a, with the local peace partners as facilitators
  • Peace-building

Target Barangays:

  1. SOTized and to be SOTized barangays
  2. Covered by Peace Agreements (for the 150 brgys.)

Implementing Mechanism

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) shall serve as the overall oversight agency, in close coordination with DND-AFP and the National Security Council (NSC) Adviser, working in convergence with the National Security and Anti-Poverty Cabinet clusters.

At the regional and local levels, the Program shall be managed and implemented through the Regional KALAHI Convergence Groups in close coordination with the local government unit.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GOVERNMENT APPROACH IN RESOLVING THE ROOT CAUSES OF ARMED CONFLICT?

The terms like CLEAR, HOLD, SUPPORT and CONSOLIDATE (Gradual Constriction Strategy) strategy originated from former US Pres. Ronald Reagan’s doctrine on Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) which was applied in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Africa, Angola, South Africa, Western Europe, Northern Ireland, Southeast Asia and Philippines in the US war to promote capitalism as against communism. This strategy was formally adopted in the Philippines by former Pres. Marcos and later evolved into a Total War policy of the Cory administration.  Subsequent administrations also continue to implement such strategy despite its human rights violation history. Why Philippine government adopted the US Low Intensity Conflict doctrine? The use of Philippine Armed Forces as US surrogate forces was confirmed as early as April 1987, when the late Congressman Carmelo Barbero, then chairman of the Committee on National Defense in our House of Representatives said: “In the final analysis, JUSMAG (Joint United States Military Advisory Group) controls our armed forces. If the organization of our Armed Forces is determined by foreigners the political decisions based on our military capabilities are, in effect, determined by foreigners. It’s the Americans who control our Armed Forces and their JUSMAG may be expected to predict decisions on what is best for their country {William Pomeroy, The Philippines: A Case History of neocolonialism in Remaking Asia, p.165}. The JUSMAG formulated the charge of rebellion complexed with arson, robbery and kidnapping which previously did not exist in Philippine laws or statutes.

The military’s counter-insurgency program in 1986 and 1987 was called Oplan Mamamayan, which superceded Oplan Katatagan of the Marcos martial law era. It is interesting to note, however, that Oplan Mamamayan was drafted during the last days of martial law, but its implementation was suspended in favor of the February 1986 snap presidential elections. No essential difference lies between Oplan Katatagan and Oplan Mamamayan. Oplan Mamamayan has three phases. In the CLEARING operations phase, the military would try to clear all revolutionary forces from targettted areas- which could mean a total war against the revolutionary groups on the ground. The second phase would consist of HOLD operations, whose aim would be to reassert government authority in the area and establish a firm security framework through the organization of CAFGU, religious fanatics [i.e., Pulahan], vigilante groups, ALSA MASA and CVOs. The third stage would be CONSOLIDATION through the agencies of the government. The final phase involved the RESETTLEMENT OF PEOPLE who left the combat areas. This final phase is done through hamletting and force evacuation of civilian populace. This strategy is being implemented by the Special Operation Teams (SOT) {The Politics of Counter-insurgency in the Philippines: Military and political Options, Gareth Porter, 1987, p.86}.

The SOT is light, mobile, composite team composed of elements drawn from the army, Air Force, Navy, Constabulary, and local police. Each SOT is broken down into three teams: the psychological Operations Team, the stay-Behind Team, and security Team.

SOT operations can be classified into four phases: The first phase focuses on immersion and intelligence gathering. The second phase deals with massive psychological operations including anti-communist lectures, distribution of anti-communist pamphlets, comics, and other materials in the vernacular and even film showing. The third phase is called neutralization. The SOTs most of the time disguises themselves as rebels to sow terror to civilian populace in order to malign the revolutionary groups. Development projects are implemented in a piece meal basis. It was not for the purpose of improving people’s life but as a tactic to pacify and neutralize people’s cry for change {Total War, Ma. Socorro Diokno}.

Claiming this government right hand approach to be an act of self-defense against a particular segment of society, the military and government nevertheless continue to besiege the civilian population it is supposed to defend. To implement this government right hand approach, the military establishment utilizes such offensive military measures as zoning, saturation drives, hamletting, food blockades, strafing, bombings and massacres against civilian non-combatants. These extensive military operations against civilian population have resulted in mass evacuations of refugees fleeing their militarized zones into towns and cities, especially in far-flung barangays.

This subtle approach to discredit all such organization and render them ineffective would include black propaganda, media manipulation, communist-labeling, harassment, and threats, psychological warfare operations, the creation of counter-cause-oriented organizations, the infiltration of activities, especially mass mobilizations, of cause-oriented organizations and fielding of agents provocateurs to disrupt all peaceful activities, the manipulation of religious beliefs and political biases, the manipulation of church leaders, government officials, and even leaders of existing cause oriented organizations. The end result would be the polarization of Filipino society.

History continue to prove that using this government right hand approach to uproot the political-military structures of the revolutionary movement will only cause massive human rights violations among civilian populace and will further intensify armed conflict rather than bridging peace and national reconciliation. In short, this government counter-insurgency strategy is a failure in itself and whatever it is called today KALAHI, SIP, PDC, PAMANA and etc.

Why it is a failure?

Based on a series of public consultations conducted in 71 out of the 76 provinces in the Philippines by the National Unification Commission (NUC), now named as Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), five major causes identified by the people why there are armed conflicts:

  1. Massive Poverty and Economic Inequality
  2. Injustice and Abuse of Power
  3. Poor Governance
  4. Control by a Few of Political Power
  5. Exploitation of Cultural Communities and Lack of recognition of their Ancestral Domain

With different names from KALAHI, SIP, PDC, to PAMANA and etc, but it is still under the framework of a counter-insurgency scheme. This is where the problem lies when peace process is used as a tool for counter-insurgency purposes instead of seriously addressing the real question of lasting peace (http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&sec=reader&rp=1&fi=p031124.htm&no=6&date=11/24/2003)

Insurgency problem is the disease caused by governments’ failure to address the five root causes of armed conflict. If we go back to what the NUC (now called as OPAPP) identified as the root causes of armed conflict, none of the five (5) major causes has been addressed until today and nowhere in any peace negotiations and peace agreements with armed groups that OPAPP  has ever discussed and provided with solutions to the five (5) major causes. Why? The simple answer is, the reactionary government with its existing socio-economic system will not and cannot resolved armed conflict because capitalism itself is the root cause of class struggle and the state will always be an instrument of waging class war and rule.

OPAPP as facilitator of “peace process” of the government is a member of the “Cluster-E” (national security cluster) together with the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of National Defense (DND), and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and therefore, OPAPP cannot stand and will not stand as an independent body. Its plans and actions is always coordinated with the NSC and DND and this cluster is in-charged of the counter-insurgency program of the government. Remember the OPLAN GREENBASE in which OPAPP is one of the government agencies involved in the implementation of this secret operation.

The best alternative to facilitate peace process between armed groups and the government is the creation of an independent peace process “Commission”. It must be created by the Philippine Constitution, whose mandate must come from the people and not from any branch of the government.

At present,  OPAPP is just a mere creation of an Executive Order (EO) and an “adhoc body in-charged of implementing the peace program of the government and its personnel are contractual employees and their term of service are under the mercy of their Peace Adviser Secretary.

The counter-insurgency program of Pres. Noynoy Aquino was copied and lifted up from the US Counter-insurgency manual (http://revolutionaryfrontlines.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/us-role-in-philippine-counter-insurgency-operations/) and same is being implemented by OPAPP as mentioned by no other than Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Sec. Ging Deles (http://opapp.gov.ph/news.php?id=26).

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