The New People’s Army (NPA) called on President Rodrigo Duterte to subject government security forces to a scrutiny of their nationwide operations, deployment, and conduct as it maintained that the military has not implemented the unilateral ceasefire the President declared in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25.
“The New People’s Army Regional Operations Command (SMROC) avers that there is no conspicuous and veritable unilateral ceasefire exercised by AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), PNP (Philippine National Police), and paramilitary troops in Southern Mindanao, five days after its Commander In Chief, GRP President Rodrigo Duterte, proclaimed such an order in his State of the Nation Address on July 25,” NPA-SMROC spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez said in a statement.
Sanchez said the NPA is “ready, willing, and able to reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire in accordance to the parameters, guidelines and rules to be set by the national leadership of the NPA, CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), and NDFP (National Democratic Front Philippines).”
But he added that it “cannot be harangued to reciprocate a unilateral ceasefire order that is overtly mocked by the AFP hierarchy and its ground troops and paramilitary forces.”
He said Duterte must scrutinize his own troops first, “otherwise, (he) cannot burden the NPA to reciprocate what is turning out to be a spurious unilateral ceasefire.”
Duterte had given the NPA until 5 p.m. today (July 30) to reciprocate government’s ceasefire. Sanchez’s media statement was received by MindaNation at 5:04 p.m. on July 30.
“Pending its own unilateral ceasefire declaration, the NPA has placed its troops on active defense mode as a welcome gesture to GRP Pres. Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire declaration. But it cannot surrender its military initiative and diminish the authority of the People’s Democratic Government by placing in jeopardy the lives of the Red Army and the civilian masses in the face of relentless attacks by the fascist enemies of the people,” Sanchez said.
He said the NPA is ready to defend itself from military troops who are actively present in almost all villages in Southern Mindanao.
“These are not troops implementing innocuous “civil-military operations” but are implementing combat operations, surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence, and psychological warfare in civilian communities. These are troops who use communities as garrisons, conduct counter-revolutionary operations, harass and threaten civilians and ensure that their protected illegal activities such as drug trade and logging and mining pay-offs continue unhindered,” Sanchez added.
He also said the July 27 ambush on members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Kapalong, Davao del Norte that resulted in the death of one militiaman “only highlighted the unrelenting military operations of AFP troops.”
“Worse still, the fabricated lies they spin to their commander-in-chief and the media to smokescreen their palpable violation demonstrate their outright disdain for the peace process,” he added.
The military has denied the NPA’s allegation and called on the rebels to “stop resorting to propaganda and instead truthfully show their sincerity in the efforts of President Rodrigo R. Duterte bring peace to the entire nation.”
Read: AFP hits NPA for ‘malicious, unfounded allegations’
“The 10ID and the whole AFP fully support President Rodrigo Duterte’s peace agenda. We call on all Filipinos, including the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, to take this opportunity and support our President finally bring peace to our country,” it added.