Despite own ceasefire, AFP troops courting disaster in combat operations around Southern Mindanao

Since December 23, AFP troops have launched combat operations in at least 5 provinces around Southern Mindanao region, in direct violation of the GRP’s unilateral ceasefire declaration, actively seeking armed engagement with NPA units and terrorizing peasants and Lumad in their wake.

Most definitely, these forward deployments are offensive in nature, and in no way able to downplay the AFP’s abhorrent posturing of abiding by their own ceasefire order. To be sure, in the event of an armed encounter with Red fighters as a result of these incursions into hinterland areas, the AFP will feign guiltlessness and condemn the NPA for “attacking their troops who are pulling out of the area in observance of their ceasefire order.”

Between 23 December to 28 December 2019, the following troop movements of the AFP in Southern Mindanao have been reported and confirmed:

  1.  Bukidnon:
    1.1 December 24 – Sitio Salumayag, Brgy. Digongan, Kitaotao – 30 members of the 89th Infantry Battalion
    1.2. December 24 – Sitio Gatungon, Brgy. Sta. Fe, Quezon – 18 members of the 89thIB
    1.3. December 25 – Brgy. Balokbokan, Kitaotao – at least 1 squad of the 3rd IB
    1.4. December 24- Brgy. Metebagao, Kitaotao – at least 1 squad of the 3rd IB
    1.5. December 24 – Brgy. Kalapaton, Kibawe – at least 1 squad of the 3rd IB
    1.6. December 24 – Sitio Salalayan, Brgy. Sinuda, Kitaotao – 1 platoon of the 57th IB
  2. Davao del Norte:
    2.1. December 23 – Sitio Lambid, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Talaingod. – 1 platoon of the 56thIB
    2.2. December 23 – Sitio Migsulok-sulok, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Talaingod – 1 platoon of the 56thIB
  3. Davao deo Oro:
    3.1. December 23 – Brgy. Manurigao, New Bataan – 66th IB
    3.2. December 23 – Sitio Mascareg, Brgy. Anitapan, Mabini – 71st IB
    3.3. December 23 – Sitio Manasa, Anitapan, Mabini – 71st IB
    3.4. December 23 – Sitio Candinuyan, Brgy. Golden Valley, Mabini – 71st IB
  4.  Davao Oriental
    4.1. December 23 – Baganga – 67th IB
  5. North Cotabato
    5.1. December 23 – Arakan – 19th IB and its paramilitary Bagani

Aside from these specific instances of troop movements in hinterland areas, AFP units have likewise intensified patrol base operations in Laak, Asuncion and New Corella in Davao del Norte and in Montevista, Davao de Oro.

Meanwhile, NPA units in the region are conscientiously observing the CPP’s ceasefire order, adhering to the directive of active defense mode while holding off offensive actions against enemy units in their areas of operations. However, in light of the current situation on the ground, NPA units are also ready to give battle to the AFP’s operating troops in order to defend the masses and their ranks.

In the midst of these AFP combat operations, however, NPA units and revolutionary mass organizations were able to successfully celebrate the CPP’s 51st anniversary in guerilla bases and zones around the region. Despite the treacherous marauding of AFP troops in the countryside, NPA units were able to mobilize the network of organizations, supporters and allies within their respective areas of operation to ensure that the celebrations were safely held.

The Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao reiterates its commitment to the formal resumption of the peace negotiation, even as we continue to be vigilant against the orchestrations of the warmongers and peace spoilers within the US-Duterte regime that have always seen the peace process as a threat to the perpetuation of the exploitative semi-colonial and semi-feudal system.