CPP denies ‘hit list’ claim; accuses Esperon of sabotaging possible peace talks resumption

Robie de Guzman   •   December 20, 2019   •   526

Fighters of the New People’s Army-Melito Glor Command (NPA-MGC) gather at an undisclosed location in the mountains of Sierra Madre in Quezon Province, south of Manila, Philippines, 26 December 2018, to celebrate the 50th year founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines (issued 27 December 2018). EPA-EFE/
ALECS ONGCAL

MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday denied claims its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA) has a “hit list,” as earlier alleged by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

In a statement issued Friday, the CPP said Esperon’s claim was just a ploy that aims to “sow intrigue in order to sabotage the planned resumption of formal peace talks.”

“Together with fellow peace antagonists Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense and DILG’s Eduardo Año, Esperon is adamant in adhering to GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement to resume the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” the communist group added.

On Tuesday, Esperon revealed they have received reports on the alleged assassination plans of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA against him, Duterte, Año and other government officials ahead of the group’s founding anniversary on December 26. 

He advised law enforcement and security forces in the country to take countermeasures against the possible threat.

But according to the communist group, it is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who have tagged activists to their “infamous orders of battle.”

“It is in fact the AFP and PNP who keep in their infamous ‘orders of battle’ names of activists, progressives, and other individuals supportive of the people’s struggles for democratic rights,” the CPP statement read.

“It is the regime’s death squads in the military and police who have killed close to 300 peasants, workers, indigenous peoples, human rights workers, journalists, lawyers and other democratic forces in the last three years,” it continued.

The issue on the alleged NPA hit list came after Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the government’s chief peace negotiator, said that the peace talks with the Reds may likely resume soon.

Bello said he met with communist party founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison and National Democratic Front senior adviser Fidel Agcaoili in the Netherlands earlier this month following Duterte’s order to talk to Sison on the possibility of resuming peace negotiations.

CPP-NDF receives copy of PH gov’t ceasefire order

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said it has finally received copies of the documents stating the government’s orders for suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) and the suspension of offensive police operations (SOPO).

Fidel Agcaoili, NDF peace panel chairman, confirmed they received the documents from Labor Secretary and government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III on December 26.

“We hope that from here on the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires declared by the two Parties shall proceed effectively,” Agcaoili said in a statement.

CPP founder and NDP chief political consultant Jose Maria “Joma” Sison earlier asked for the copies of the government’s written order for the state security troops to stand down in observance of the holiday ceasefire.

Both the government and the communist group declared a truce on Sunday for the holiday season.

President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered the reconstitution of the government’s negotiating panel for the possible resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels.

The holiday ceasefire took effect midnight of December 23 and will end on January 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PNP to remain ready for any NPA attacks despite ongoing ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to remind its force not to be complacent but to remain on guard for any attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) despite the ongoing unilateral ceasefire which started on Dec. 23 and will end on January 7.

This was prompted by the three attacks that the rebel group had launched against the police and the military in Camarines Norte, Iloilo and Quezon provinces.

PNP Directorate for Operations PMGen. Emmanuel Licup advised his men to always be ready to defend themselves.

“Pwede kang lumaban pero you don’t do it on an offensive manner; kung ambush pwede kang lumaban,” Licup said.

Meanwhile, the police force on Thursday (Dec. 26) joined the indignation rally staged by different entities in line with the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP).

“Itong mga riders organized ourselves na ipakita naman na we are supporting the effort of the civilian sector who want to support the national task force to Elcac (End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” Licup said.

Around 200 HPG riders from the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, and CALABARZON joined the indignation rally that went on a convoy through Liwasang Bonifacio, Monumento Circle, UP Diliman, Baclaran and the EDSA Shrine.

In December 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order 70 that mandates a whole nation approach to end the 50-year activities of the communist group. — (from  the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

PH Army accuses NPA of violating ceasefire deal

Robie de Guzman   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army is accusing the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) — of violating the ceasefire agreement following reported attacks on government troops this week.

Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay called the attacks “senseless” and slammed its timing when the nation is celebrating the holiday season.

The Philippine government and the CPP declared a ceasefire beginning midnight on December 23, 2019 until January 7, 2020 as part of the possible resumption of the stalled peace talks between the two parties.

“We are one with the government and the people’s desire to a just and lasting peace in the entire country. In light of this development, other means of peaceful resolution such as localized peace talks need to be considered,” Gapay said in a statement

“We just hope that the CPP-NPA will not miss this opportunity by staging these senseless attacks, especially during a time when the nation celebrates the season of love, peace and unity,” he added.

The Army chief said separate attacks believed to have been perpetrated by the NPA were launched in Camarines Norte and in Iloilo just after the declaration of holiday ceasefire.

He said troops belonging to the 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company in Labo, Camarines Norte were on their way back to their base in observance of the Suspension of Military Operations when they were ambushed.

Minutes later, a police patrol vehicle was attacked using improvised explosive device in Tubungan, Iloilo.

The attacks left one soldier dead, and eight other security forces injured.

The CPP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines earlier insisted they have not violated the ceasefire deal, and assured to check the veracity of the reports on the supposed ceasefire violations.

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