MANILA, Philippines – Communist leaders denied that their armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), violated the holiday ceasefire, saying that “attacks” in 3 provinces were defensive moves in the face of “sustained operations” by government troops.
“These were defensive actions by the NPA units involved in the face of armed attacks and sustained military operations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP),” said Fidel Agcaoili, chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel.
The supposed attacks could spoil a potential resumption of the peace talks.
One was killed and 6 were wounded in the attack on army troopers in Camarines Norte.
But according to Agcaoili, “there were no ceasefire violations by the NPA.” (READ: Sara Duterte: Exclude Davao City in ceasefire with CPP-NPA)
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said the attacks “show that the leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDF does not have at all any control over their people.”
Threat of spoiling peace talks
Citing statements from the Romulo Jallores Command of NPA Bicol and the Napoleon Tumagtang Command of NPA Southern Panay, Agcaoili reiterated that government troops were first to attack.
“The statements belie the malicious charges in the press releases earlier issued by the concerned units of the AFP and PNP on the incidents,” said Agcaoili.
Agcaoili said they are still to receive copies of the SOMO (Suspension of Military Operations) and SOPO (Suspension of Police Operations) from the AFP and PNP, respectively, as guidelines for the ceasefire.
After declaring the 16-day ceasefire, President Rodrigo Duterte reconstituted the government panel and named his trusted executive secretary, Salvador Medialdea, as one of its members. (READ: How to resume talks with rebels? January meeting to set the agenda) – Rappler.com