In the past two years, the Duterte administration had trained its sights on Negros island, deploying hundreds if not thousands of its soldiers and cops practically everywhere–from occidental to oriental. One surmises that this probably because Negros is a traditional hotbed of revolutionary movements, stemming from the Spanish period up to this very day, with revolutionaries from the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Despite the continued existence of CPP-NPA units in the island, peace and order has not been really a very serious issue there. For years, there seems to be an unwritten, nay, invisible curtain that protects non-combatants from intermittent skirmishes between state troops and these rebels. This semblance of peace had caused the economic development of cities such as Bacolod and Dumaguete. I’ve seen frenetic economic activities in these two cities, a testament that despite the existence of an intractable insurgency, economic growth is highly possible especially coming from a people who are mostly entrepreneurial and most have an innate business sense.
This peace has been shattered with scenes of gore and death happening not just in these two cities but in almost every single area of the island. Military elements conduct daily operations against known rebel lairs with the help of a shadowy para-military force given a wide latitude to kill state enemies with impunity.
The difference between now and history is the veritable lack of respect these military troopers regard even of non-combatants— people who work for non-governmental organizations. Though the state has, time and again, accused these NGO’s as fronts for the rebel organization, providing them with logistical support and warm recruits, it is still inexcusable for these elements especially these paramilitary elements to target innocent civilians suspected of rebel links.
Sources say a shadowy group of assassins, formerly NPA sparrows was formed by a police general who is now assigned far away as possible from Negros. This group has a mandate–exterminate the ranks of the rebels whether these individuals work as regular cadres or simply organizers for NGO’s. There is simply now, no distinction between combatants and non-combatants, which lead most residents to fear that these operations are leading to a massive deployment of operatives meant exactly to raise war.
Why conduct or launch a war in Negros when the AFP itself admits that (1) the Communist movement has been weakened by successive defections happening throughout the country and (2) the main bulk of NPA forces happens to be located in Mindanao. Why Negros when the NPA maintains a small presence there?
Sources say government intends to clear the island of oppositors and rebels so that a Presidential ally can now realize his vision of turning the island into a logistical hub for his freight and delivery operations. The strategic location of Negros island as both a gateway to the Visayan group of islands and a possible entrepôt makes it extremely viable for government to spend precious billions just to get the island rid of rebels and potential trouble makers when government begins this plan of the presidential ally.
There is also a plan to construct oil refineries in the island. Crude oil coming from freight ships from China and elsewhere can now dock and refine their shipments for sale to different oil companies in the Philippines.
Plans of Negros having a steel ore refinery is also in the works, with the Presidential ally already in talks with several Chinese steel giants for them to just ship their ore to Negros and from there process and sell to China.
Negros is strategically located and is seen as a possible entry point for Chinese products to enter and dominate the Visayan market.
This cannot be possible, says my source, if the insurgency rages there, as this would surely put the lives of foreign workers at risk. The Presidential ally intends to import workers from China to man these freight hubs, oil and steel refineries. This is simply expected since the Presidential ally is a pure-blooded Chinese migrant who just assumed a Filipino citizenship to dominate the local business scene.
So there. These deaths happening right now in Negros is simply not in the name of nationalism or democracy–it is simply to make business tycoons richer and their political benefactors more powerful. Who benefits in the end?