While it perceived such development in a positive light, Ka Oris, NPA National Operations Command (NOC) spokesman said they are awaiting instructions from the Communist Party of the Philippines as to the reinstatement of the unilateral ceasefire declarations.
“Until then, the NPA is ready to confront and counter the offensives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in order to defend the people, especially the peasant masses and minority groups, from the abuses being perpetrated by the AFP,” he said.
Oris said since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to “flatten the hills”, the Army “has become even more frenzied in its crazed war against the people.”
He cited the aerial strikes launched by the military in Barangay Cabuyuan in Mabini, Compostela Valley.
“It employed at least three MG-520 helicopter gunships to drop no less than 10 bombs, even as ground troops fired their machine guns. At least 75 families with an estimate of 200 individuals were forced to evacuate,” Ka Oris said.
He added that the military conducted aerial bombing runs in Barangays Gawang, Tee and Andavit in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, “using FA-50 jetfighters and MG-520 helicopter gunships.”
“At least 3,000 families in Maguindanao have been forced to evacuate their homes to escape the bombings and militarization of their communities,” Oris said.
Meanwhile, the NPA has also launched offensives during the lifting of the government and the communists’ unilateral ceasefires.
On February 16, the NPA said “at least 12 soldiers were killed while more than 20 were wounded” after the NPA attacked government troops on two separate incidents in Paquibato and Calinan districts.
On March 8, three police officers and a member of the Scene of the Crime Operatives were killed in an ambush by the NPAs in Barangay Sibayan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur.
On Monday, suspected members of the NPA burned a bus in Makilala, North Cotabato. But the NPA has yet to issue a statement on the incident.
Ambush of government troops
Duterte’s order for the military to launch war against the NPAs came after the ambush against police officers in Bansalan, Davao del Sur where three police officers and a member of the Scene of the Crime Operatives were killed on March 8.
“Go ahead, flatten the hills…,” Duterte said as he visited the wake of two of the police officers in Bansalan.
He also ordered the military to use all available assets as the peace talks are still terminated.
“It’s totally absent so in the meantime, I will just ask the armed forces and the police, just go ahead wage a war against them, anything goes for now,” he said.
‘Back on track’
Efforts to revive the peace negotiations are gaining headway after Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza announced Sunday that the peace talks is back on track following the Parties’ conclusion of their two-day informal talks in Utrecht.
“I am pleased to announce that the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army / National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/ NDF) which broke down weeks ago, are now back on track again,” Dureza said.
GRP panel chief negotiator Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III on Tuesday said while they are “saddened” by the recent NPA attacks, they are urging combatants “to observe restraint.”
He said they have communicated the matter with their counterparts in the NDFP “and they vowed to look into it.”
Bello said they remain firm and confident that the Parties can still proceed according to the agreement signed in Utrecht “to swiftly reinstate our respective unilateral ceasefires while we work on the terms of an interim bilateral ceasefire agreement.” (davaotoday.com)DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The New People’s Army on Tuesday welcomed the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as stated in their Joint Statement signed on March 11 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.