Of failed OPLANS


46 years ago, there was this front page news report on the AFP’s failed counterinsurgency campaign against the 3-year old NPA in the Cagayan Valley. Quoting:

The government has obviously failed in its efforts to crush the New People’s Army with the Armalite. There is now a growing shift from the government’s military drive against the NPA in the Cagayan Valley to an all-out psychological warfare and civic action…

Rather than reduce the NPA’s mass base in this region, the government has caused it to increase inspite of its massive military action against the dissidents.

Since then, the AFP has implemented a series of Oplans that includes the following:

Oplan Katatagan during the martial law years, 1972-1986
Oplan Lambat-Bitag, Cory Aquino’s term, 1986-1992 and extended to the early years of FVR regime.
Oplan Pagkalinga (1996-1997) – FVR
Oplan Kaisaganaan (1997-1998) – FVR
Oplan Makabayan (1998-1999) – FVR
Oplan Balangai (1999-2001) – Estrada
Oplan Bantay Laya (2001-2009) – Arroyo
Oplan Bayanihan (2010-2016) – Aquino III
Oplan Kapayapaan (2016 – ) Duterte

One failed Oplan was replaced by another which invariably failed again. The government/AFP just kept recycling the program under different labels. Einstein had a term for this — “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The government should see the great merit of addressing the roots of the armed conflict by pursuing peace talks with the NDFP and signing and implementing agreements such as the CASER or Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, and the agreement on political reforms.

If truly implemented with great efforts of will and making them benefit the people as they should, CASER’s twin programs — genuine agrarian reform and rural development, and national industrialization — will go a long way in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. The GRP and NDFP must resume the peace talks, as various sections already have urged them to do, including 61 congressmen who signed a resolution asking the Duterte government to resume the talks. It will be a great day in the country when both the GRP and NDFP aagree and work together in implementing the twin programs of CASER and instituting political reforms.

Tomorrow, March 29, the NPA celebrates its 49th founding anniversary.

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