CPP: ‘The NPA does not torture its enemies’

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denied the New People’s Army (NPA) tortured the four police officers killed in Ayungon, Negros Oriental last July 18.

In a statement, the CPP’s Information Bureau said that based on reports of the NPA’s Mt. Cansermon Command that claimed responsibility for the attack, the four armed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were killed in an ambush.

Those killed were not tortured, contrary to claims made by President Rodrigo Duterte, the CPP said.

“They were armed adversaries of the NPA and died in a legitimate act of war. Duterte and the police are making up stories in a vain attempt to gain public sympathy,” the CPP added.

The group said, the NPA strictly prohibits the use of torture, “[u]nlike the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines] and PNP.”

“The NPA’s rules prohibit even lifting a finger against its captives or prisoners. The policies of the NPA are much unlike Duterte’s cruel war that targets civilians with extreme brutality,” the CPP said.

‘No ordinary ambush’

In a press conference last Friday, Police Regional Office-7 (Central Visayas) director PBGen. Dobeld Sinas said he does not believe the casualties died in an ordinary ambush.

Sinas alleged the four police officers were dragged, hogtied, mauled and even hit with butts of rifles by the NPA.

Sinas identified the fatalities as Corporal Relebert Beronio and Patrolmen Raffy Callao, Patrolman Ruel Cabellon and Patrolman Marquino de Leon.

Based on police reports, the four police officers were on board two motorcycles were waylaid and fired upon by at least 11 unidentified NPA fighters.

They were intelligence personnel of the 704 Mobile Force Company of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Central Visayas.

The NPA’s Mt. Cansermon Command (MCC) spokesperson, Dionisio Magbuelas, said the four officers were killed for acting as spies to implement police operations that had led to civilian deaths in Negros Oriental.

“Based on our intelligence report, the four police operatives were gathering information and surveilling the area for another round of Oplan Sauron or Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations where innocent civilians are killed by uniformed personnel in the guise of counter-insurgency efforts,” the NPA said in a statement.

‘Series of successful tactical offensive’

In another statement Thursday, the NPA unit claimed no less than 43 soldiers and police were either killed or injured in three separate offensives it conducted between June 22 and July 18.

Aside from the Ayungon ambush, the MCC also conducted what it called a sniping operation in Sitio Bulo, Brgy. Bantolinao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental last June 22 that resulted in the death of three soldiers of the 94th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA) and the wounding of 20 others.

Last July 2, the MCC said it foiled a raid attempt by the 11th IBPA in Sitio Small Samac, Brgy. Nalundan, Bindoy, Negros Oriental and launched a counter offensive that killed 10 and wounded six government troopers. 

“The series of successful tactical offensive was conducted by MCC-NPA to need the call for justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings especially for the innocent victim’s of Oplan Sauron 1 and 2,” Magbuelas said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

85th IBPA suffers casualties in Lopez ambush–NPA

The New People’s Army (NPA) in Quezon said it ambushed troopers of the Philippine Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Cogorin Ibaba, Lopez, Quezon Monday night.

The NPA’s Apolonio Mendoza Command (NPA-AMC) said it ambushed 10 government soldiers on board a truck as well as their reinforcements in two separate fire fights.

While not giving an exact number, the guerrillas said they have confirmed casualties on the state forces while suffering no casualties of their own in the clashes that lasted about 20 minutes.

“The tactical offensive was part of the NPA’s defense of farmers’ communities under the red territory of the revolutionary movement,” the rebels said in Filipino.

“While the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has opened a new window for the resumption of peace negotiations, its military continues to attack farmers communities, forcing the NPA to launch a counter attack,” NPA-AMC spokesperson Cleo del Mundo added.

Del Mundo said military operations terrorize civilians in the area that disobeys President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements for the creation of an enabling environment before the resumption for formal negotiations between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“In the past week alone, five barangays in three towns [in Bondoc Peninsula] have been militarized by at least a company-sized contingent of soldiers,” del Mundo said.

The rebel spokesperson said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) soldiers have descended on Barangays San Francisco B, San Miguel Dao, Veronica and Jongo in Lopez town, Cauayan in Gumaca town, and Bulagsong in Catanauan town.

Del Mundo explained that the farmers could no longer tend to their coconut farms and their farm animals since the AFP launched their military operations last week.

“The residents are also terrorized by the soldiers’ fake census that have resulted in fake surrender ceremonies in the past, as what happened in Barangay Jongo last February where 11 farmers who were paraded before Duterte in Malacañang came from,” del Mundo said.

The AFP website has no statement on the reported clash.

The NPA attack happened less than two weeks before both the NDFP and the GRP are supposed to jointly declare a “stand down” order for both the NPA on one hand and the AFP and the Philippine National Police on the other as a goodwill measure for the resumption of formal peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

The NDFP and the GRP are expected to approve an interim peace agreement that would include a coordinated unilateral ceasefire, a general amnesty declaration for about 520 NDFP-listed political prisoners and agrarian reform and rural development as well as national industrialization and economic development agreements at the end of the month.

The parties said the social and economic reform agreements are meant to address the root causes of the armed conflict between NDFP forces and the GRP. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)