79th IB soldiers violate Duterte’s ceasefire order in North Negros

The Roselyn Jean Pelle Command – New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA) Northern Negros Guerilla Front, strongly denounces the Philippine Army, particularly elements of the 79th Infantry Battalion, for violating their own ceasefire declaration with continuous military operations.

Meanwhile, units of the RJPC-NPA continue to launch mass education regarding the Covid-19 pandemic in order to mobilize the people against the medical and socio-economic crisis that we face today.

During the first week of April, the RJPC-NPA received reports that the 79th IB conducted military operations in the mountain villages of Brgy. Paghumayan, Malatas, Cruz, Macasilao and Pantao in Calatrava even while Duterte’s ceasefire declaration was still in effect. There were also military operations in Sitio Carbon, Barangay San Isidro and Barangay Bandila in the municipality of Toboso.

On April 13, 2020, the RJPC-NPA received reports that more than 30 armed soldiers conducted operations in Sitio Tipolo, Brgy. Pantao, Calatrava. They threatened and interrogated civilians and spent the night in a house within the community.

By afternoon, the fascists were seen in Sitio Udiong, Brgy. Bandila, Toboso, and moved towards Sitio Magkalapi, Brgy. Tabun-ac, also in Toboso.

On April 15, the fascist unit was involved in the forcible entry and ransacking of the Palay family home in Sitio Udyong, Brgy. Bandila, Toboso, around 6 am. Six soldiers in civilian clothing ransacked the house looking for Quintin Palay, the head of the household, while Quintin was tending to his crops in Brgy. Bandila proper. The armed men who ransacked the house threatened and interrogated a 12-year old child who passed out due to fear.

According to reports, the other soldiers initiated a cockfight in the sitio while the six elements ransacked the Palay house. In the following days, the fascist 79th IB continued with ther cockfighting and gambling spree at the nearby village, Brgy. Winaswasan in Calatrava.

These military operations of the 79th IB which also violate human rights and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL, show the insincerity of the ceasefire order and the empty talk of their commander-in-chief Duterte. Duterte’s ceasefire is not serious in helping the Filipino people. The said unit of the Philippine Army is no different from other fascist units that treacherously attack NPA units conducting medical missions in other parts of the country.

While the whole world faces the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the AFP is first to violate the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” and other guidelines of the reactionary government such as social distancing and quarantine. Soldiers abuse civilians and initiate gambling in communities. In the checkpoints, many people complain that police and soldiers without adequate protective gear like face masks and gloves conduct body frisking and heavy inspection of personal belongings of travelers.

It is clear to the people that intensified militarization and the lockdown of communities are no solution to Covid-19, for these steps should be based on the improvement of medical services and data from mass testing. The US-Duterte regime and corrupt politicians are only interested in saving themselves, in imposing fascist and military rule to control the protests and spontaneous anger of the people, and in gaining spoils from financing and aid meant for ordinary citizens affected by the crisis.

The RJPC-NPA calls on the people and all revolutionary mass organizations in North Negros to help each other face Covid-19. Let us implement the call of the Communist Party of the Philippines for medical missions and mass education to fight Covid-19, launch mass campaigns for sanitation and people’s nutrition, and emergency food production to cover the needs of the toiling masses and the hungry amid the economic crisis.

The ranks of the fascist military and police are also vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19, just like the doctors, nurses and health workers taken for granted by the inutile US-Duterte regime. They should be sincere in helping and uniting with everyone to improve medical services and aid for the affected masses of the people. Military operations and abuses make the crisis and hunger of the Filipino people much worse.