NDFP: No violation of truce in Camarines Norte, Iloilo
The communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines has debunked the claims of the government forces that its armed wing, the New People’s Army, violated the ceasefire agreement after reported encounters in Camarines Norte and Iloilo last December 23.
In a statement, Fidel Agcaoili, chair of the NDFP peace panel, said those were defensive actions by the NPA units in the face of armed attacks and sustained military operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
“There were no ceasefire violations by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the reported armed encounters on 23 December 2019 in Bicol and Iloilo with soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a special operations unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP), respectively,” Agcaoili said.
“These were defensive actions by the NPA units involved in the face of armed attacks and sustained military operations by the AFP and the PNP (special operations unit), as attested to in separate statements issued by the Romulo Jallores Command, New People’s Army, Bicol, and the Napoleon Tumagtang Command, New People’s Army, Southern Panay,” he added.
The NDFP chief negotiator said the statements of their NPA commanders belied the “malicious” charges by both law enforcers.
Agcaoili added they have yet to received copies of the suspension of military operations and suspension of police operations issued by the AFP and PNP, respectively, on the basis of a mutual agreement as reflected in the ceasefire order of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Both encounters happened one day after President Rodrigo Duterte agreed on the recommended ceasefire by the government and NDFP peace panels as part of the resumption of peace talks.
One soldier died while six others were wounded in an encounter with the Maoist rebels on Camarines Norte while two policemen were injured in a clash in Iloilo.
Major General Antonio Parlade Jr, AFP deputy chief of the staff for civil military operations, in a statement called the attacks as “horrible violations” by the communist rebels of the truce.
“Clearly these were horrible violations by the CPP-NPA of the agreement, made worse by the use of land mines which are clear violations of international conventions as well,” he said.
“The families of soldiers and policemen are mourning and spending Christmas in the morgue and hospitals because of this treachery committed by the CPP-NPA during this ceasefire. It has happened before but this is the price of the government's genuine pursuit for peace,” he added. Ella Dionisio/DMS