The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) directed all units of the New People’s Army (NPA) to be on extra alert in the face of successive attacks mounted by units of the military and police across the country. These attacks have been carried out despite Rodrigo Duterte’s ceasefire declaration on March 19 and will be effective until April.
The Party also called on the NPA to exercise strict discipline to ensure secrecy in their maneuvers to deny the AFP and PNP any opportunity to attack while giving the Red fighters the widest latitude to undertake measures to educate the masses on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, it reminded the people’s army to remain ever ready to engage in battle when necessary to defend themselves and the masses against offensive operations of the AFP.
The Party responded positively to the United Nation’s call for a global ceasefire to focus on fighting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 19, the Party directed all commands and units of the people’s army and militia to cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against AFP and PNP units and elements. It advised all revolutionary forces to continue conducting health campaigns and providing medical services to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The Party’s ceasefire declaration will take effect until April 15.
The CPP is the first belligerent force in the world to respond to UN’s call for ceasefire. In a statement, the UN lauded the declaration saying that this “will serve as an example across the world.”
The UN announced on April 4 that 11 countries has responded to its call, including the reactionary Philippine government.
Relentless military offensives
The regime is not only violating its own ceasefire declaration, but is also its commitment to the global ceasefire, as military operations continue unabated amid the pandemic. It is squandering funds in its relentless and expensive conduct of combat psywar, drone surveillance and bombing operations in civilian communities instead of allocating funds to contain the pandemic. Based on initial reports compiled by Ang Bayan, the AFP has continued to conduct counterinsurgency operations in at least 80 towns and cities, covering 146 barangays in the past three weeks.
Hours after Duterte issued a call for a ceasefire on March 16, the 8th IB bragged about raiding an NPA encampments in Sitio Bendum, Barangay Busdi, Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.
In Quezon Province, the 85th IB attacked an NPA unit in Barangay Ilayang Yuni, Mulanay on April 1. Another NPA unit was raided by 59th IB troopers in Barangay Mabunga, Gumaca on March 31. According to NPA-Quezon, the AFP has also been conducting sustained combat operations in at least 10 towns in the province.
On March 28, the 80th IB also attacked an NPA unit conducting a medical mission in Barangay Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal, and made it appear the attack was staged by the NPA. This is contrary to 2nd ID’s own spot report which indicates that they have been conducting combat patrols against the NPA.
On April 2, another NPA encampment in Barangay Balagon, Silay, Zamboanga Sibugay was raided by troops of the 44th IB. The same AFP unit raided another NPA camp in Barangay Peñaranda, Kabasalan in the same province last March 21.
Military and police operations and occupation of barrios endanger the lives and bring intense hardships on civilian residents. In Samar, the NPA reported that soldiers are operating in barrios without taking necessary medical precautions. They are operating in at least 15 towns in Northern, Eastern and Western Samar.
Military operations are also widespread in the islands of Negros and Mindoro, Davao Region, and Zamboanga Peninsula, and in the provinces of Sorsogon, Palawan, Capiz, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Misamis Occident and Surigao del Sur.