The Philippine Army and National Police in Negros resumed combat operations yesterday against the New People’s Army, following the end of a 15-day holiday truce Tuesday.
“As we resume all of our military operations against the NPA terrorists with assurance of putting the primacy of human rights and the peace process on top of it, we are also resuming our efforts for localized peace talks,” Army regional spokesman Capt. Cenon Pancito III said.
“We have proven that localized peace talks are very effective in ending local communist armed conflict,” Pancito said, citing the decommissioning of hundreds of former combatants of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, and 252 regular NPA members and Militia ng Bayan in Negros, Panay, Bohol and Cebu.
Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, and Col. Romeo Baleros, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday confirmed the resumption of combat operations against the NPA.
Ka Bayani Obrero, spokesman of the National Democratic Front-Negros, issued a statement yesterday accusing the Philippine Army in Negros of committing ceasefire violations, while the holiday truce was being observed from Dec. 23 last year, to Jan. 7.
The Apolinario Gatmaitan Command of the NPA Regional Operational Command in Negros listed several alleged violations of the AFP's ceasefire order, that indicated that President Rodrigo Duterte has no control over his military and police in Negros, rebel spokesman Ka Juanito Magbanua claimed.
However, Pancito said the NPA rebels were the ones who betrayed the people of Western and Central Visayas by staging an ambush against police personnel in Iloilo, at the start of the ceasefire period, where two policemen were injured.
Pancito added that the CPP-NPA intentionally ruined the Yuletide peace deal that showed the selfish and deceptive purpose of their ceasefire.
For them, ceasefire is not about peace, it’s about struggle and violence as NDF Chair Luis Jalandoni had arrogantly declared that the revolutionary armed struggle is a more important struggle than the peace negotiations, he added.
Pancito also said that the ambush of soldiers returning to camp in Camarines Norte, the murder of two tribal leaders in Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon during the duration of ceasefire, further indicated that the terrorist group is no serious in observing the ceasefire.
Meanwhile, the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command enumerated alleged ceasefire violations perpetrated by the 303rd and 302nd Infantry Brigades troopers, citing troop movement in the hinterlands of Moises Padilla, Isabela, Himamaylan City and Escalante City, Negros Occidental, Santa Catalina and in the 3rd district of Negros Oriental, from Dec. 24 last year, to Jan. 6.
NPA units in Negros Island firmly followed and adhered to the ceasefire order of the CPP Central Committee and the NPA National Operational Command, Magbanua said.
He also congratulated all NPA guerrilla fronts and the entire revolutionary forces in Negros for successfully holding celebrations of the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines despite massive military operations in the Island.*
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