Reds extend unilateral truce until April 30

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 17 April) – The Communist Party of the Philippines on Thursday extended its unilateral ceasefire until April 30 in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order, posted in its website, ordered all units of the New People’s Army to prioritize the fight against COVID-19.

NPA fighters in formation. MindaNews file photo

The CPP ordered NPA fighters to cease carrying out offensives against the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police nationwide.

The extension came after the nationwide ceasefire it declared last March 23 ended on April 15.

“The aim of extending the nationwide ceasefire is to ensure quick and unimpeded support to all people requiring urgent medical, health and socioeconomic assistance,” the CPP said.

President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered a ceasefire against the communist rebels from March 18 to April 15.

Both sides however traded accusations of truce violations.

The Philippine Army said the NPA killed two indigenous peoples leaders and Nora Apique, a farmer-leader in Surigao del Sur last March 31.

But in a statement last April 1, human rights group Karapatan said it was the military that killed Apique, 66, a leader of the Kapunungan sa Mga Mag-uuma sa Surigao del Sur, a member organization of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

The military has tagged the KMP as a front of the CPP-NPA.

For its part, the NPA accused the military of using FA-50 fighter planes to drop bombs on Lumad communities in Cabanglasan town, Bukidnon last March 27.

In a statement Wednesday, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines said it has submitted a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “disclosing the offensive military operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) from March 16, 2020 to April 15, 2020, in 196 villages of 96 towns, in gross violation of their own unilateral ceasefire declaration.”

Guterres had called for ceasefires among parties engaged in armed conflict around the globe to better address the coronavirus pandemic. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews, with a report from H. Marcos C. Mordeno)