CPP questions Duterte’s ceasefire declaration

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today questioned the Duterte regime’s ceasefire declaration saying reports indicate that combat, psywar and intelligence operations continue to be conducted by AFP units against the New People’s Army and against the peasant masses.

After imposing the militarist Luzon Lockdown purportedly to contain the spread of the Covid-19, Duterte declared a 27-day ceasefire and ordered a suspension of military and police operations against the NPA. “Amid reports of continuing military operations, however, Duterte’s ceasefire declaration seem to be an empty PR stunt.”

Citing initial reports from the New People’s Army (NPA), the CPP said sustained military operations are being conducted by the AFP in Abra, Mt. Province, Quezon, Mindoro, Masbate, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Samar, Negros, Bukidnon, South Cotabato and Zamboanga. Human rights violations perpetrated by AFP and PNP personnel remain unabated.

On March 19, the 31st IB conducted combat operations in several barangays of Barcelona and Bulusan in Sorsogon under the guise of “Community Support Program” operations. Soldiers continue to conduct reconnaissance operations and compel barangay watchmen to serve as guides and “human shields.”

In Capiz, the 61st IB deployed an additional 15 regular and CAFGU troops at its detachment in Barangay Katipunan, Tapaz.

Combat operations are also being conducted by the 403rd Brigade in Bukidnon. In particular, the NPA reported the presence of operating 8th IB and 1st Special Forces Battalion troopers in Barangay Busdi, Malaybalay City, and Mt. Kitanglad, respectively.

State forces also arrested Lumad leader Gloria Tumalon in Lianga, Surigao del Sur on March 20 and civilian Camilo Bucoy in Zamboanga Sibugay on March 19. Both were slapped with trumped up criminal charges and accused of being NPA members.

The CPP denounced the Duterte government for using the public health crisis as pretext to impose its militarist lockdown which curtail the people’s civil liberties with impunity.

The CPP said even without a ceasefire, it has directed NPA units to help health committees in villages to carry out an information drive on the threat of a Covid-19 epidemic, raise the necessary resources, carry out sanitation services, provide necessary items for personal hygiene, extend extra care to senior citizens, and other measures.