PH Army accuses NPA of violating ceasefire deal

Robie de Guzman   •   December 26, 2019   •   664

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.

AFP official says not fair to red tag Liza Soberano but warns vs. ties with Gabriela

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A military official has warned actress Liza Soberano against associating with Gabriela Women’s Party for its alleged links to the New People’s Army (NPA).

In a statement Wednesday night, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. said it is not fair to red-tag Soberano as “she is merely supporting advocacy for women’s rights.”

Parlade said Soberano should be protected in the exercise of her rights and that she is “not yet” a member of the NPA.

However, Parlade pointed out that she and other celebrities should be educated on the “hidden violent agenda” of the Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA).

MAKIBAKA is an underground mass organization hiding under Gabriela Women’s Party, according to the military official.

“Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It’s not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women’s rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights,” he said in a statement posted on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) Facebook account.

“Is she an NPA? No, of course not. Not yet. So let’s help educate her and the other celebrity targets of Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the Underground Mass Organization hiding under Gabriela Women’s Party,” he added.

Parlade also advised the actress to stop supporting Gabriela.

“Liza Soberano, there’ s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira @ELLA, former Deputy Secretary General of Gabriela Youth of UP, Manila and defender of women’s rights, even against sexual predators amongst her comrades in the NPA unit she joined which is clearly stated in her handwritten letter addressed to a certain @EMIL,” he said.

The AFP official also issued the same warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and told them not the follow the path of a certain Ka Ella Colmenares.

“The choice is yours Liza. And so with you Catriona,” he said.

“I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this,” he added.

In the same statement, Parlade also slammed the Gabriella party for not informing their recruits about their group’s agenda.

“So, Rep. Arlene Brosas and Gabriela, shame on you if you haven’t informed your recruits about your hidden violent agenda,” he said.

In response to the statement, Gabriela party-list Rep. Brosas criticized Parlade for red tagging and “mansplaining” Soberana.

“Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade’s appeal to stop red-tagging Liza Soberano is starkly ironic because he actually red tagged Soberano in his statement. By saying that Soberano is ‘not yet an NPA,’ he is maliciously associating the actress with the armed movement when what she did in the youth forum was to only speak up for all the victims of gender-based violence and abused,” she said in a statement.

“It is clear that Parlade, the NTF-ELCAC and the paid trolls are the ones who are rabidly red-tagging Liza Soberano and other female celebrities and influencers who are taking a stand and speaking out against the macho-facism under the Duterte regime. How come these macho-fascists have the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do? And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?” she added.

The issue came after Soberano joined a Gabriela Youth online forum to discuss issues being faced by girls and women amid the pandemic.

“These rabid NTF-ELCAC executives are using their rehashed script to discredit Gabriela Women’s Party despite our long track record of advocating women’s rights. Our 20 years of advancing women and children’s rights inside and outside of Congress cannot be smeared by their repeated lies,” Brosas said.

Philippine Army opens own COVID-19 molecular laboratory

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army on Thursday started the operations of its own molecular laboratory which aims to provide to its personnel health care services related to emerging infectious illnesses such as coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The molecular laboratory started its operations after receiving accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH).

On its Facebook post, the Philippine Army said its personnel and their dependents, civilian human resource, and other authorized civilians can avail of the laboratory’s services by sending their swab samples collected and delivered by the requesting individual or institution.

It added that the facility will use the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) COVID-19 testing process. It can accommodate about 90 samples a day.

Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana thanked the DOH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, as well as the Army offices and units that made new health care capability possible.

“The Philippine Army rises to the challenges to be resilient even in the face of this pandemic. And, today’s launching of the PA Molecular Laboratory illustrates this resolve to battle the coronavirus disease and build the Army’s health care service,” Sobejana said.

Lacson tells Army chief Gapay to ‘temper emotions’ over slay of 4 soldiers

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has urged Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay to temper his emotions over the killing of four soldiers by police officers in Jolo, Sulu.

“While I can easily relate to Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay and understand how he feels about the Army officers slain in Sulu, emotions running high at this point is the last thing they need,” Lacson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gapay earlier denounced the slay of his men, describing the incident as “rubout” and “murder.” He also called for the sacking of Sulu’s police chief following the incident.

Lacson, a former chief of Philippine National Police (PNP), said that “decisiveness, not divisiveness” is needed as he warned that terrorists and armed insurgents may “exploit” the situation.

“For all they know, their common enemies such as the terrorists and armed insurgents are already celebrating the Sulu incident — and even making plans to exploit it,” he said.

The senator said the “enemies of the state” are “very capable of fanning the flames of animosity” between the police and military by “creating intrigues to further divide the country’s two major security forces.”

Lacson also said that enemies of the State, through their legal fronts, have been “sowing disinformation” about the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and the National ID System.

“Ultimately, decisiveness, not divisiveness, is needed in dealing with the enemies of the State and the Filipino people,” he said.

On June 29, four soldiers were fatally shot by police officers some meters away from the Jolo police station.

Police said the military officers attempted to escape and opened fire at them while on their way to a nearby police station for identity verification. However, the Philippine Army disputed this claim, saying the soldiers did not try to flee and never fired a single shot towards police officers.

The nine police officers involved in the incident, as well as the chief of Jolo police station have been relieved from their posts.

The National Bureau of Investigation is already conducting a probe into the incident.

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