Rebel priest says US aid meant for war

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, http://www.allvoices.com MANILA, Philippines-

Rebel priest Fr. Santiago Salas, spokesperson on the communist led_national Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Eastern Visayas said the $ 200 million US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant will bring militarization and human rights violations and not genuine development in the highly militarized island in Eastern Philippines.

Fr. Salas tagged 8th Infantry Division chief Gen. Mario Chan a barefaced liar for denying the sinister agenda of US funded projects currently undertaken in Samar as part of the counter-insurgency program of administration of Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the extended Oplan Bantay Laya.

“It is sheer duplicity for Gen. Chan to deny Samar’s militarization,” the NDFP-Eastern Visayas spokesperson said in a press statement, a copy of which was sent to http://www.allvoices.com. Salas added: “Victims of human rights violations have publicly denounced widepread and extended military operations since August in Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Catbalogan, Gandara, Paranas, San Jose de Buan and Matuguinao in Western Samar, as well as several adjacent towns in Northern and Eastern Samar.

The rebel priest said it only shows the Aquino government is enamored with the militarist solution and Gen. Chan is implementing this by militarizing Samar.He said is already clear the present government is dragging its feet in the peace process with the NDFP, extending the widely condemned (national security program) Oplan Bantay Laya until January 2011, and carrying out the US Counterinsurgency Guide in plotting its own counterrevolutionary war.

Anti-development?

The NDFP-EV spokesperson also rebuked Gen. Chan for maliciously accusing the revolutionary movement of being against development in opposing the US-funded Samar Road project.

“Without basic socio-economic reforms, the MCC project will be a mere publicity and psywar gimmick to glamorize the Aquino government and to justify militarization in the name of securing this project,” Fr. Salas said. The NDFP-Eastern Visayas maintains that to assure genuine economic development, land reform and national industrialization are needed.

But Samar reflects the backwardness and imbalance under semifeudalism in Eastern Visayas.The democratic front argued the crops planted do not benefit the people and over 60% goes to commercial crops for export such as coconut and abaca, while less than 20% is left for rice and other basic foodstuffs.The agricultural conditions are also dire in Eastern Visayas with the number of irrigated rice fields is drastically declining, farmlands continue to be divided into smaller and less productive parcels, and the use of agricultural machinery or even farm animals is woefully inadequate.

“Such is the explosive situation where the peasants are becoming increasingly landless, desperate and hungry,” the NDFP-EV added.Meanwhile, other economic activities such as mining and logging have not resulted in industrialization but the plunder of the island’s rich natural resources as raw materials for export.”Thus it is Gen. Chan who is against development, for pushing a project that will not solve the island’s economic ills, but will hasten the exploitation and oppression of the people,” the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-led NDFP-EV added.

Bureaucratic loot

The NDFP-EV likewise charged Gen. Chan of hustling for the US-funded project in his greed to ensure his share from the bureaucratic loot.

“The NDFP-EV is aware that civilian contractors in Samar have been complaining in recent years that they are being muscled out by the 8th ID in construction projects,” it said. ” High-ranking military officials not only back certain contractors to share the kickbacks, but also use the army engineering battalions to grab corruption-tainted projects that should have been done by the civilian government,” the NDFP-EV asserted.
“Isn’t it strange otherwise why Gen. Mario Chan makes vulgar demands to the local government to rush the US-funded project, when he is out of line in doing so, as a military official who should be subordinate to civilian authority?” it asked.

Oppose MCC in EV

The NDFP-EV spokesperson called on the people to express their grievances and expose the real situation in opposing the US Millennium Challenge Corporation project.

“We call on the peasantry and the people to press the demands for land reform and national industrialization against a grandiloquent but deceptive project. We call on the Church and the human rights and peace activists to expose and oppose the ‘counterinsurgency’ scheme behind the MCC project based on the US COIN Guide,” Salas said. The NDFP spokesperson also rallied anti-corruption activists to study and criticize the US-funded project that will surely be undertaken by the same thieves responsible for the neglected state of Samar’s roads and other public works.

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Filed under foreign relations, peace talks, US intervention

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