DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The New People’s Army unit in Davao de Oro (Compostela Valley) claims government troops violated ceasefire orders set during the coronavirus quarantine when it raided an NPA medical team.
This was claimed in a statement of the NPA Compostela Valley-Davao Gulf Sub-regional Command released April 12, which said troops of the Armed Forces’ 71st and 28th Infantry Battalion raided a team of NPA medical officers and combatants conducting a medical information drive on April 7 at Barangay Tagdangua in Pantukan town.
The NPA spokesperson Daniel Ibarra said two members of the medical team were killed in the incident. He also revealed one of the casualties bore torture marks such as “deep slashes and hacking wounds in both his arms and one of his legs.”
Ibarra explained that the NPA dispatched a team “to hold consultations with revolutionary organizations with regards to prevention of the pandemic and likewise plan widespread production campaigns in preparation for the lean months ahead.”
President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire from March 19 to April 15, the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, and ordered government troops to stop its offensive operations against the communist rebels to focus on efforts to address the control of Covid-19,
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) also issued its own ceasefire from March 26 to April 15, in response to the United Nations’ appeal to armed combatants for a global ceasefire to address the pandemic.
Ibarra described the murder as “most heinous and inhumane”.
Ibarra said the military troops have continued its counterinsurgency campaigns in the province, noting that the soldiers still conducted surrender drives of NPA supporters in barangays in Pantukan, allegedly threatening residents they will not receive relief goods if they do not comply.
“The fascist AFP forces are likewise wasting scarce material and financial resources in exorbitant aerial reconnaissance and surveillance, notwithstanding the periodic aerial bombardment and shelling that only ever victimize civilian communities and destroy farms and livelihood,” Ibarra added.
This was in reference to an earlier statement made by the CPP that the AFP conducted aerial and artillery shelling in Davao de Oro, Davao del Norte, and Bukidnon.
The CPP said state troops continued its operations against the NPA in at least 63 towns and cities in 97 rural villages across the country.
The AFP has yet to issue a response to the NPA’s statement. (davaotoday.com)