No truce extension: CPP tells NPA to shift from defense to offense

Members of the New People’s Army of Northern Mindanao Guerilla Front 68 in formation during a ceremony in Barangay Tikalaan, Talakag town in Bukidnon in this file photo taken last April 17, 2017 when the NPA released a police officer it earlier held captive. MIndaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 30 April) – The 36-day unilateral ceasefire of of the New People’s Army (NPA) will not be extended after its expiration on midnight of April 30, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement Thursday.

“All units of the NPA must immediately transition from an active defense posture to an offensive posture,” the statement said.

The CPP accused security forces of continuing attacks against the NPA even after President Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire on March 16 to facilitate the delivery of government services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The refusal of the Duterte regime to relent in its attacks against the NPA, despite calls for a ‘global ceasefire’ has made the further extension of the NPA ceasefire impossible. Since Duterte called for a ceasefire on March 16, AFP counterinsurgency operations remain unabated, deploying its units in at least 396 villages in 148 towns, ceaselessly conducting combat operations, aerial bombardments and artillery shelling, aerial surveillance and ground intelligence operations, arresting civilians, and violating people’s rights with impunity,” it said.

It added that during the past 36 days the military operations occurred in 23 provinces, mostly in Mindanao.

The rebel group claimed the military suffered “at least 56 casualties, 31 of whom were killed in action. On the part of the NPA, 18 Red fighters were killed while 8 were wounded.”

The military also accused the rebels of violating the unilateral ceasefire, including allegations of an attack against soldiers who were escorting a delivery of relief goods for people affected by the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

But the CPP assured government workers are welcome to render assistance in areas with rebel presence.

“The NPA assures your safety. We urge you to refuse AFP escorts as their presence only raises the danger of armed encounters,” it said.

Duterte had threatened to declare martial law if the NPA continued attacking government forces.

Duterte, in a warning aired on national television on Friday last week, was reacting to reports that two soldiers were killed in an encounter with NPA rebels in Aurora province on April 21. He said the soldiers were escorting government workers giving relief aid to people affected by the enhanced community quarantine. (MindaNews)