UTRECHT, The Netherlands – Even as both government and communists hailed the success of the recently concluded second round of peace negotiations between the two parties in Oslo, Norway, ceasefire violations have been on the rise.
NDF consultant Porferio Tuna who is a member of the Reciprocal Working Group on the end of hostilities and disposition of forces said “There are signs of actions that are not in consonance with the unilateral ceasefire declaration including the ongoing military operations, military encampment and the death of a farmer who has been tagged as an NPA member,” he said.
Tuna slammed the killing of Jimmy Saypan, a peasant leader in Compostela Valley who was shot on Monday morning and died on Tuesday afternoon in the hospital.
He recalled his conversation with Saypan during a peace forum held in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley province last September 17. Saypan allegedly reported to him the presence of military intelligence forces who have confronted him to stop his group’s opposition against the operations of the Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AgPet) in their area in Compostela.
Dan Borjal, spokesperson for the NDF panel, said they are also receiving reports about the continuous military operations by government troops in NPA territories.
“According to NPA commands from various regions, the reason why there has been no firefights so far is mainly because NPA forces have been maneuvering to avoid armed encounters. But tensions are rising because the AFP military operations appear more and more to be taking the form of base-denial operations targeting the mass base of the NPA,” he said.
In a statement on Oct. 8, NPA national spokesperson Jorge Madlos said “not a few NPA units are having difficulty holding back offensives amid threats of armed troops of the AFP which continue to conduct Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency intelligence, psywar and combat operations in the guerrilla zones of the NPA.”
“There are reports of continuing AFP operations across the country, from North Luzon to Southern Mindanao. There are even reports that military units are telling civilian residents that the ceasefire is no longer in effect to justify their operations and presence in their communities,” he said.
The NPA’s Agustin Begnalen Command based in Abra said the Army’s 24th Infantry Battalion have been telling civilians in Sallapadan town that the ceasefire has ended.
Madlos said the AFP has yet to observe the advice of Duterte to be friendly to the NPA adding that the AFP continues to conduct hostile operations against the NPA.
“Even the drug campaign is being used by the AFP to conduct anti-NPA operations,” he said.
Borjal said to have a stable ceasefire AFP forces must “return to barracks” at the level of the battalion headquarters.
Both Agcaoili and NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said compliance to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Humantiarn Law will “boost the prospects for forging a bilateral ceasefire agreement and acceleration of the peace process.” (davaotoday.com)