The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) accused the Rodrigo Duterte government of violating its unilateral ceasefire declaration and is “in direct contempt” of the United Nations request for a global ceasefire amid the corona virus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a statement, the CPP said state armed forces continue to mount “non-stop combat operations” against the New People’s Army in at least 63 towns and cities, covering 97 rural villages across the country.
“[Government] Military and police units across the country have continued to carry out relentless offensives despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration which covers the period March 19 to April 15,” Marco Valbuena, CPP chief information officer, said.
The government’s counterinsurgency operations has resulted in a series of armed encounters and widespread violation of human rights violations, Valbuena added.
“Over the past three weeks, state forces attacked and raided at least seven NPA encampments in the provinces of Rizal, Quezon, Bukidnon and Zamboanga Sibugay,” Valbuena said.
The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) also conducted airstrikes and artillery shelling in Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro and Bukidnon, Valbuena reported.
In a separate statement last Saturday, the CPP said there have been at least seven clashes since the separate ceasefire declarations by the CPP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, all reportedly instigated by the military.
On March 17, an NPA unit in Sitio Bendum, Barangay Busdi, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province was reportedly attacked by the elements of the 85th Infantry Battalion (IP) of the Philippine Army.
On the same day, another unit of the NPA was attacked by a units of the AFP 1st Special Forces Battalion in Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon.
On March 28, an NPA unit encamped in the mountainous part of Barangay Pungay, Rodriguez, Rizal was attacked by a unit of the 80th IB.
On March 31, another NPA unit in Barangay Mabunga, Gumaca, Quezon was attacked by a unit of the AFP’s 59th IB. The CPP said the government military unit has been conducting non-stop combat operations in at least five towns in Quezon province.
On April 1, another NPA unit was attacked by the 85th IB in Barangay Ilayang Yuni, Mulanay, Quezon.
Last Thursday, April 2, another NPA encampment unit in Barangay Balagon, Silay, Zamboanga Sibugay was raided by troops of the 44th IB. The same AFP unit raided another NPA camp in Barangay Peñaranda, Kabasalan in the same province.
On the other hand, all NPA units have complied with the CPP declaration, Valbuena said, adding however the guerrilla units are on “extra alert” in the face of the attacks from state forces.
The CPP issued its unilateral ceasefire declaration in response to the call of the United Nations for a global ceasefire that took effect on March 26 and will last until April 15.
According to the CPP, the ceasefire should give all NPA units the opportunity to carry out a public health campaign to help the masses surmount the Covid-19 epidemic.
Units of the NPA are conducting information drives, and campaigns for sanitation and personal hygiene, the CPP said.
Duterte said his government’s unilateral ceasefire order would allow the AFP and the Philippine National Police to focus on defeating the Covid-19 pandemic. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)