MANILA, Philippines — “Sorry sa pagkakamali ng tropa (Sorry the troop’s mistake).”
This was the statement released by Rino “Ka Oto” Colaste, spokesperson of Guerilla Front 16 of the New People’s Army for the attack last week in Barangay Lahi, Gigaquit, Surigao Del Norte that killed one and injured two others.
The incident last Wednesday, April 18, killed Jepti Acido, a pastor of Jehovah’s Witnesses while two of his companions were wounded.
“Ka Oto” said they are conducting their own investigation on the incident to find out why their men attacked civilians instead of the military in the area.
The Guerrilla Front 16 vowed to shoulder the needs of the victims’ families but the Armed Forces of the Philippines said no amount of money can pay the loss and damages the group has caused.
“Hindi mababayaran ng pera. Hindi mababayaran ng kahit anong bagay ang buhay ng isang tao. Iyon ang ikinalulungkot namin,” said Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas, Spokesperson of 402nd Infantry Brigade, PA.
(Money cannot redeem what happened. Nothing can equal the value of a human life. It’s what saddens us.)
Meanwhile, Gigaquit Mayor Elvira Egay condemned the attack.
“The attack on non-combatants was uncalled for and a clear violation of human rights,” said Mayor Egay in a statement.
The AFP is now preparing for the charges to be filed against the rebels.
“Meron na tayong coordination sa kapulisan. At the same time para serve po natin sa family noong victim ang justice na hinihingi nila, of course, iyon ding pagpasa ng kaso doon sa mga NPA na may gawa nito,” Capt. Pueblas said.
(We are coordinating with the police. At the same time we are filing charges against the NPA rebels behind the incident so that the victim’s family can have the justice they’ve been clamoring for.) — Raymond Octobre | UNTV News & Rescue
AFP not reciprocating Reds’ 5-day ceasefire declaration
The military is not inclined to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the military offensive operations against the communist rebels this holiday season.
This is despite the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) declaration of a five-day unilateral ceasefire with government forces in observance of the holiday season and its 50th founding anniversary.
The CPP’s unilateral truce is slated to begin from 12:01 a.m. of December 24 until 11:59 p.m. of December 26 and from 12:01 a.m. of December 31 until 11:59 p.m. of January 1, 2019.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, the government side will not reciprocate the rebels’ gesture.
This is the first time that the AFP is not even contemplating a cessation of hostilities with the communist rebels for the holiday season.
“If the AFP is going to be asked, we are not inclined to recommend the said suspension of military operations (SOMO). We see that in the past they have not been sincere with any suspension of military operations. They continued with their terroristic and criminal activities, extortion, harassment etc.,” Arevalo said.
He added that they will not allow the rebels the chance to regroup and even celebrate their founding anniversary.
“Experience have shown us that it’s not worth it and ikalawa ang sinasabi natin magsi celebrate sila ng 50th anniversary this year. So, we will not want to give them that leeway,” Arevalo said.
The departments of national defense and the interior and local government also rejected the ceasefire.
The AFP has directed its troops to stay on alert for any attacks that may possibly be staged by the communist rebels.
“Heightened pa rin ang preparation ng ating armed forces the way we do. Especially alam natin na meron silang ganitong activities,” Arevalo said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to approve the AFP’s recommendation not to implement a suspension of military operations with the CPP-NPA this December. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue
NPA’s holiday ceasefire a sham — Año
FILE PHOTO: New People’s Army
MANILA, Philippines — The unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is meaningless and for propaganda only, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
Ano added that the real reason for the declaration is to give the CPP’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), a chance to beef up their forces.
“Ito po ay isang malaking kalokohan. Huwag na nilang gamiting dahilan ang kapaskuhan sa pagkukunwari nila na magtitigil-putukan sila sa panahong iyon gayong alam naman nating magpapalakas lang sila ng puwersa (This is a big sham. They should not use the Christmas season for their supposed truce when we know they’re just reinforcing their group),” he said.
Just like the Department of National Defense (DND), the DILG is also not keen on recommending to President Rodrigo Duterte the declaration of a holiday ceasefire with the communist rebels.
Año said the NPA would also just use the truce to launch an attack against government troops.
“Hindi natin pahihintulutan na muli naman tayong mahulog sa bitag. Nakita na natin sa mga nagdaang panahon ang kawalan ng sinseridad ng mga komunista at ng kanilang front organizations (We will not allow ourselves to fall into the same trap again. We have seen time and again the insincerity of the Communists and their front organizations),” he said.
The DILG Chief insists that if the CPP is truly sincere on pursuing peace, its founding chair, Joma Sison, should return to the Philippines and meet with the President. — UNTV News & Rescue
More than just a holiday truce, gov’t seeks permanent truce with the NPA — Malacañang
FILE PHOTO: New People’s Army in formation
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with his Cabinet may include the reported recommendation of the defense department not to declare a holiday truce with the communist rebels or the New People’s Army (NPA) this holiday season.
Based on reports, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is not inclined to have holiday truce for the reason that the NPA rebels might just use the chance to reinforce their group; especially now that the number of rebels surrendering to the government continues to increase.
Meanwhile, Malacañang says the government wants a permanent truce and not just a holiday truce.
“There should be permanent truce. There should be no bloodshed, as far as the government is concerned. It’s time to stop this bloodshed, it’s been 50 years,” presidential spokesperson & chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said.
Last year, both the government and the NPA rebels declared a six -day suspension of offensive operations against each other’s camp to give way to the holiday season.
On December 26 , the NPA will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. The military and police are expected to intensify their security operations to prepare for any eventualities that the communist rebels are planning in relation to their anniversary. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue