Even before the Duterte government declared yesterday a 27-day ceasefire in line with its imposition of a lockdown, the Party had already issued directives to all revolutionary forces to carry out a mass campaign to encourage collective action to respond comprehensively and extensively to the threat of a Covid-19 outbreak.
Ceasefire or not, NPA Red fighters have already been directed to step up efforts to render social, economic, medical and public health services to the people. In particular, units of the NPA are working with local people’s health committees. Red fighters and the people are coordinating efforts to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 in their areas.
Whether Duterte’s ceasefire order will indeed supersede previous orders to mount all-out war to crush the NPA remains to be seen. Right now, the AFP and PNP are conducting intense combat, intelligence, psywar and suppression operations in Abra, Mt. Province, Quezon, Mindoro, Masbate, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Capiz, Samar, Negros, Bukidnon, South Cotabato and other provinces. There are widespread abuses of human rights. Less than a week ago, state forces carried out the cold-blooded murder of Party leader Comrade Julius Giron who was convalescing in Baguio City.
In light of Duterte’s Covid-19 lockdown, rural peasant communities are worried that the emerging public health emergency might be used as pretext to impose even worse population control measures and economic blockade in their villages which will cause further hardships on the people. There is concern that Duterte’s ceasefire might be used to make available more soldiers to further reinforce the military lockdown against the population which have already caused grave hardships on the people in the National Capital Region and across the provinces.
In due time, the Party can issue its own unilateral ceasefire declaration, when conditions or negotiations warrant such. At the moment, all units of the NPA are advised to remain on alert even with Duterte’s ceasefire declaration. They must remain on active defense and ready to give battle to AFP and PNP units which continue to conduct offensive operations or conduct suppression activities against the people.
The NPA and all revolutionary forces must closely monitor whether the AFP and PNP actually implement their ceasefire declaration, whether troops conducting combat operations are ordered withdrawn, and whether it has put to stop aerial and human surveillance and intelligence operations, psywar and suppression activities in rural communities, conscription of paramilitary forces, forcing to “surrender,” requiring residents to render unpaid labor to construct military detachments in villages, and other military abuses.
All units of the NPA, as well as local revolutionary organizations and committees, must promptly submit their reports to their higher commands and to the leading committees of the Party.