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Duterte’s counter-insurgency measures will be defeated, Bicol NPA vows

BICOL–The New People’s Army (NPA) in the Bicol region vowed to defeat President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest counter-insurgency orders, saying the new militarist measures are barefaced efforts to extend martial rule and impose “fascist dictatorship” from Mindanao to the rest of the country.

In a press conference days before the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 50th founding anniversary on Wednesday, the Romulo Jallores Command (RJC), the regional formation of the NPA in Bicol, said Duterte has completely set-up his requisites to impose nationwide martial law.

“The people of Bicol condemns Duterte’s Executive Order Number 70 that sets up its so-called National Task Force Against Communist Insurgency and yet another extension of martial law in Mindanao until [the end of] 2019,” Raymond Buenfuerza, RJC spokesperson, said.

Duterte has only shown that his “treacherous populism” has been unmasked in issuing such orders, the group added.

Duterte signed EO 70 last December 4 following his issuance of Memorandum Order 32 last November 22 ordering increased military presence and operations in Bicol, Samar and Negros Island against communist revolutionary groups in the said regions.

Buenfuerza told a select group of journalists in a NPA camp in the region that Duterte’s militarist approach would only encourage Bikolanos to resist.

“The people had long embraced revolutionary armed struggle to fight for their democratic interests that are being denied by the imperialist United States and local ruling elite,” Buenfuerza said.

“Duterte does nothing but inspire the people to topple the rotten and crisis-ridden system that is made worse by both fascist attacks of the regime,” he added.

The RJC said there have been 77 victims of extrajudicial killings in the Bicol region under Duterte, adding the Bicol region has among the most number of victims of the government’s Oplan Tokhang.

In response, Buenferza said the various NPA units under the RJC have carried out nearly 90 tactical offensives in 2018, killing 68 state security forces and wounding 50 others “in response to the “heightening calls for justice.”

In spite of increased and more vicious attacks by the military and police, the NPA has not only successfully defended its fronts in Bicol but has strengthened its more than 110 guerrilla fronts all over the country, Buenfuerza said.

The NPA called on Bicolanos to further resist and defeat Duterte’s EO 70 and martial law in Mindanao.

“Let us be inspired by the 50th anniversary of the CPP to launch intensified people’s struggles as well as tactical offensives of the NPA until the fascist and terrorist US-Duterte regime is completely defeated,” Buenfuerza said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

3 CAFGUs die in Masbate encounter

Three government troopers under the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army were killed in an encounter in Masbate Province Friday morning, a spot report from the Philippine National Police said.

The soldiers figured in a fire fight with suspected members of the New People’s Army at Barangay Mactan, Cawayan town at about 8:30 in the morning that resulted in the deaths of three Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit auxiliary troopers, the police added.

The Masbate Provincial Police Office (MASPPO) said that soldiers of the Philippine Army detachment based in Barangay Del Carmen in Uson town were conducting combat patrol operations when they encountered NPA fighters in the area.

The MASPPO did not reveal the names of the casualties.

The PNP said they have yet to determine if the NPA also suffered casualties.

The Romulo Jallores Command of the NPA in the Bicol Region has yet to issue a statement on the incident. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)