The New People’s Army (NPA) in Caraga Region has announced it has suspended military operations against government forces during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
In a press statement, the NPA-North-East Mindanao Region said that in deference to the people’s right to vote freely during the polls, its local command has directed its units as well as its People’s Militia to “temporarily suspend the launching of tactical offensives against Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and CAFGU forces from May 14 until May 18, 2018.”
The NPA said the directive is in response to popular calls for the free, orderly and safe conduct of the elections being held today.
The communist guerrillas said that despite the “reactionary elections” controlled and run by big politicians, it hopes that the people could fully exercise their sacred right of suffrage without the influence and pressure on whom to vote for.
They also expressed hope that despite the torrent of money intended for vote-buying, intimidation and coercion, it is possible for “sincere and well-meaning candidates who truly serve the interests of the people to win in the elections.”
The NPA, however, cautioned that the reactionary elections is not the solution to the Filipino’s social problems.
“All the machinery of the reactionary government only function to serve their selfish interests and continue to gain back the victories attained as a result of people’s struggles,” the NPA said.
The NPA challenged the AFP, PNP, CAFGU and paramilitary units to desist from harassing voters and interfering in the elections, especially those encamped within communities or near polling precincts.
Meanwhile, the PNP has recorded 27 deaths and 20 election-related incidents a few days before the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls.
Last May 12, former La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel, 58, was assassinated while addressing a campaign rally in Barangay Capas in Agoo town.
In a visit to Butuan City on Saturday as part of his inspection tour of Mindanao before the elections, PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said police units have been alerted on potential vote-buying incidents.
The PNP has identified 5,744 election hotspots in the regions. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)