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.
The Philippine Army has arrested an alleged official of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Camarines Sur.
Marilou Pascual Tan or alias Tinay is now in the custody of the Tinambac Municipal Police Station.
Authorities said Tinay is among the high-value individuals arrested for frustrated murder.
Tinay is allegedly the secretary of Komiteng Probinsya 2 of the Bicol Regional Party Committee (BRPC) of the CPP-NPA.
Police authorities recovered anti-personnel mines, hand grenades, .38 caliber gun, and propaganda materials.
Brigade Commander of the 902nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, Col. Jaime Abawag Jr. said they managed to track Tinay down after receiving a tip from several residents.
“This development is a manifestation of the continuous collapse of the CTG (communist terrorist groups). Their very own people are now siding with the government and exposing their own top leaders who are supposedly well-insulated,” he said.
Abawag also encourages residents to immediately report suspicious individuals in their area. -AAC (with reports from Allan Manansala)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the position of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against declaring a ceasefire with communist rebels this holiday season, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte normally “gives a lot of weight” on the recommendations of the military.
“Pakikinggan po ‘yan, but ultimately it’s only the President who will decide,” he said during a press briefing.
AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo earlier said the military will not recommend a holiday truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, due to the rebels’ “incapacity for sincerity.”
“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.
“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.
Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support whatever the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte will be despite their position on the matter.
Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz and Lea Ylagan)
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) stands by its position that nothing is illegal in the operation that led to the arrest of peasant women organizer Amanda Socorro Echanis.
Echanis is the daughter of slain consultant and chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Randall ‘Randy’ Echanis.
According to Police Regional Office 2 Director P/BGen. Crizaldo Nieves, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) personnel were there to carry out an operation armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Shiel Gacutan Labuguen of the Baggao Cagayan Municipal Trial Court.
“Kapag nag-issue kasi ang court, meron siyang nakalagay doon na [When the court issues a search warrant, it usually says:] “The warrant may be served anytime of the day or night,” Nieves said in response to critics’ questioning the hours the police served the search warrant.
The young Echanis, also known as ‘Waya’ or ‘Julian’ was arrested at 8:30 AM in her home at Barangay Carupian, Baggao, Cagayan on Wednesday (December 2).
Nieves added that Echanis peacefully yielded to authorities. In fact, they didn’t handcuff her and she was boarded on an ambulance instead of a police mobile.
“Normally kapag mga criminal, isasakay mo iyan sa patrol car (nang) nakaposas [Normally (in an arrest), the criminal is boarded on a patrol car, handcuffed],” Nieves said.
“Siya, hindi naman yata siya pinosas at saka dala niya iyong bata, bakit siya ipoposas [I believed she wasn’t handcuffed and she was holding her child, so why handcuff her]?” he added.
He said a doctor immediately checked her upon arrival at the camp.
“Okay naman daw ang mga normal na signs ng BP. Tapos nagpapa-conduct nga ng post partum assessment pero ayaw naman niya magpadala sa ospital. Hihintayin pa raw ang lawyer niya [(Her blood pressure was normal. She was told to undergo postpartum assessment but she refused to be brought to the hospital. She said she would wait for her lawyer first],” Nieves said.
He dared the militant group to prove accusations that the police planted the armaments that were seized in Echanis’ house.
The search ended at 12:00PM and resulted in the confiscation of the following:
1 unit M16 ARIS Colt 5.56mm assault rifle with SN 4951346;
1 long plastic magazine for M16 rifle;
1 long steel magazine for M16 Rifle;
20 live ammunitions for M16 Rifle;
1 hand grenade with marking 0689;
1 hand grenade with markings frag MK2 with Lot No.p-4-105-78.
In a statement, PNP Chief PGen. Debold Sinas said Amanda Echanis used to work underground because her husband is a leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) subgroup operating in Cagayan Valley.
According to police reports, Echanis served as finance officer of the NPA West Front operating in the region. –MNP (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
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