The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on April 15 directed all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militia to extend its unilateral ceasefire declaration until April 30. The extension aims “to ensure quick and unimpeded support to all people requiring urgent medical, health and socioeconomic assistance in the face of the public emergency over the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The declaration was issued despite the difficulties and dangers brought about by the continuing occupation and operation of military and police troopers in rural communities.
Related to this, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines submitted a letter to the United Nations informing it about the Duterte regime’s violation of its ceasefire which was declared on March 16 and took effect from March 19 to April 15.
Based on Ang Bayan’s initial compilation of reports from March 16 to April 15, the military and police continued to carry out counterinsurgency operations in 104 towns and cities, covering 219 villages.
These operations resulted in 14 armed encounter in various parts of the country. Thirteen of these were raids against temporary NPA encampments. Three each were recorded in Quezon Province, Bukidnon and Zamboanga, and two in Davao.
The most recent incident was the 67th IB’s raid against Red fighters in Mahan-ub, Baganga, Davao Oriental on April 11. Another encounter ensued a day earlier in Barangay Cabas-an, Aroroy, Masbate in Bicol after 2nd IB and PNP elements attempted to encircle an NPA team who just finished conducting a Covid-19 information drive in the area.
The highest number of violations were reported in Quezon Province (29) in Southern Tagalog, next to Bukidnon (27), Negros Occidental (25), and Masbate (24).
Most soldiers who enter rural communities are outsiders and do not wear face masks. In Abra, residents from seven villages in the town of Malicbong complained over nightly patrols conducted by soldiers which keep them awake.
On the last week of March, 24th and 69th IB troopers ransacked the quarters of small-scale miners in Barangay Guinguinabang, Lacub, Abra, stole their personal belongings, and burned their mining equipment. The troopers also razed a large portion of the forest between the towns of Lacub and Malicbong, and stole and butchered a farmer’s cow.
Residents from several communities in Negros, Zamboanga and Misamis Occidental also reported that soldiers are initiating cockfights and drinking sprees.
In a report submitted by the NPA-Southern Tagalog on April 15, it disclosed that the military continues to operate in 157 villages across the region. In Quezon alone, the military and police continues to conduct counterinsurgency operations in 105 villages. Thirteen villages in Palawan are also militarized.