The military’s continuing operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) despite the issuance of unilateral ceasefire orders by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) resulted in yet another clash Tuesday morning.
A Philippine Army trooper was killed in a fire fight at 5:45 a.m. of April 7 at Sitio Agilan, Barangay Panuran, Lambunao, Iloilo province, an army official said.
In a radio interview, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Cenon Pancito III said their soldiers were patrolling the area when the encounter happened.
A spot report on the incident says soldiers led by one 2Lt. Roel Duran were conducting “pre-emptive security patrol” when they encountered more or less 20 NPA guerrillas.
The report says the guerrillas withdrew toward Barangays Aglobong, Agracope and Panuran in Janiuay town, Iloilo.
The casualty held the rank of Private First Class, the report reads.
The Iloilo fire fight followed similar incidents in Rizal, Quezon and Zamboanga Sibugay provinces, all happening after the GRP’s unilateral ceasefire declaration of March 19 and the CPP’s own unilateral ceasefire order last March 23.
Both ceasefire orders end on April 15.
The CPP said all three previous fire fights were instigated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in disobedience to the orders of their commander in chief President Rodrigo Duterte.
The CPP also said that AFP military offensives are “in direct contempt” of the United Nations’ please for all warring parties to temporarily lay down arms while the world grapples with the corona virus disease.
The underground party also accused the AFP of conducting aerial bombing, shelling, and troop deployments that terrorize peasant and Lumad communities in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon provinces.
The CPP for its part said it will not attack members of the military who are conducting public health activities but will remain “in active defense” if attacked by AFP soldiers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva, with reports from panaytoday.net)