From The Times (Dec 27): CPP-NPA celebrates 47th founding anniversary
The military could only watch on the sidelines as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) celebrated their 47th founding anniversary in the rebels’ known lair in Agusan del Norte yesterday.
Because of the prevailing holiday truce, all troops are under orders to stand down against the communist rebels, Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said.
“They have their gathering somewhere in Agusan del Norte. Our monitoring is still ongoing and the security in the area is generally peaceful as of the moment,” Padilla said.
The military is currently strictly enforcing the government-declared unilateral truce with the communist insurgents from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.
However, the truce will not prevent the soldiers from supporting their police counterparts in carrying out routine law enforcement duties, Padilla said.
But as in past ceasefires, the AFP leadership ordered its troops to take an active defense posture to prevent attacks from the rebels, a tradition being carried out by CPP-NPA-NDF to highlight their founding anniversary.
On the other hand, troops in Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Davao regions are also under orders to keep an eye on the Magahat Bagani Force and other anti-communist groups composed of tribesmen.
Earlier, Magahat Bagani Force leader Bobby Tejero issued a warning that anyone – civilians, politicians and members of the media – attending the CPP-NPA-NDF anniversary celebration would be considered targets.
Tejero and his brother Loloy were tagged as being behind the deaths of three Lumads they accused of being NPA supporters in Barangay Diatagon, Lainga, Surigao del Sur last September.
“Taking the law into their hands is a criminal act. We will not allow it and we are now pursuing them for their involvement in the killings of three Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur,” AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Noel Detoyato said.
This developed as the Army leadership in Northern Mindanao twitted the NPA for celebrating their founding anniversary with the blood of innocent civilians on their hands.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesman for the Cagayan de Oro City-based 4th Infantry Division, said the NPA is celebrating 47 years of “banditry.”
“For almost half a century, the Communist Party of the Philippines always highlights the criminal acts perpetrated by their armed wing, the NPAs,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that NPA top leaders like Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris and Myrna Sularte alias Malaya and the rest of their comrades in arms are currently facing multiple charges of murder, frustrated murder, kidnapping, exploitation of minors, illegal possession of explosives and other crimes in various courts in Mindanao.
He also accused Madlos and his comrades of inciting minors to join their ranks.
This was uncovered after soldiers were able to rescue two students whom Madlos lured to go and join the underground movement, he said.
“The parents of the two minor students have filed and are pursuing the case against Madlos and Genasque Enriquez, secretary general of the Kahugpugan sa Lomadnong Organisasyon sa Caraga (KLOC),” Martinez said.
KLOC is known to the military as a left-wing group supporting the NPA in the region under the guise of being a non-government organization.
Meanwhile, a member of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) was released by the NPA on Christmas Day.
RPA-ABB member Cirilo Bagnoran, 42, was freed by the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command at their detachment in Barangay Macahagay, Moises Padilla town on Friday.