The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division yesterday issued an appeal for the New People’s Army in Negros and Panay to stop deliberate offensive operations against the people, in line with the observance of Holy Week.
Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3ID commanding general, also enjoined NPA members to take advantage of Holy Week to spend time with their families, embrace peace, and turn their backs on violence and aggression.
This will also serve as their chance to spend a week of peace, freedom and tranquility, as Army units in the two islands, will not raise their alert status, Mabanta said.
He, however, said the 3ID will continue to secure and protect the public,maintain its vigilance and security operations in Negros and Panay, especially in tourist destinations and places frequented by the people, in coordination with other law enforcement and government agencies.
Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista also granted soldiers a two-day holiday break to observe the Semana Santa, so they can practice their religious obligations.
“Muslim soldiers also enjoy the same privilege during the Ramadan period,” Bautista said.
“The first batch of soldiers will be allowed to go home on April 5-6, while the second batch will enjoy the same privilege on April 7-8,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, however, in a statement, it issued, dismissed the possibility of declaring a Holy Week ceasefire because of what it calls continuous brutal offensives and campaigns of suppression being carried out by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against civilian communities and the policy of the administration of President Benigno Aquino to paralyze peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“The brutality of the Aquino regime’s war in the countryside has stepped up in the past few months, with state forces resorting to aerial bombings, massacres and shootings directed against unarmed people waging struggles against oppression and exploitation,” theCPP claimed.
“Peace talks and human rights are completely out of the list of priorities of the US-Aquino regime as shown by the intensified atrocities being carried out by its armed forces under its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression,” theCPP said.
“The attacks against civilian communities have resulted in grave abuses of human rights, including violations of children’s rights,” added theCPP, citing the March 11 grenade explosion in Tapaz, Capiz,where 7-year-old Rudelyn Aguirre died in the explosion,which also injured her sister, Roda.
The CPP accused the 61st Infantry Battalion of being behind the rifle grenade explosion.
However, the 3ID blamed it on lapses of the NPA members in assembling the improvised explosive device at the house of a civilian in Capiz.* GPB