Sunday, June 25, 2017

Reds want Duterte assurance before halting attacks

From the Daily Tribune (Jun 26): Reds want Duterte assurance before halting attacks

President Rodrigo Duterte should order state security forces to halt operations against rebels if the government wants the New People’s Army (NPA) to minimize its offensives in Mindanao, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday said.

In a statement, the communists took exception at MalacaƱang’s recent pronouncement coursed through Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella that they are “disturbed” by the disconnect between the movement’s leaders based in Europe and the guerrilla forces on the ground.

The CPP said the National Democratic Front’s (NDF) recommendation for the NPA to avoid attacks against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) comes along with the demand for the government to suspend its pursuit operations against the rebels.

“The GRP (Philippine government) should remember that the recommendation of the NDF for the CPP to order the NPA to refrain from carrying out offensives in Mindanao rests on the critical precondition that the AFP will likewise refrain as well from attacking the NPA and the people in the revolutionary base areas in Mindanao,” the CPP said.

The rebels also questioned the effect of GRP chief negotiator to the NDF and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello’s statement last week that it recommends the halt of operations targeting the rebels.

“Until it’s an order inked by President Duterte,” the CPP stressed the “prevention of hostilities is nothing or is of no effect at all.”

“If MalacaƱang cannot show such specific orders by Duterte, then its spokesperson must better refrain from issuing statements which castigate the NPA for carrying out actions against the AFP’s all-out war,” it added.

Last week, around 50 to 70 NPA rebels raided a municipal police station of Maasin in Iloilo, the same day the Philippine government reciprocated NDF’s offer.

Abella the other day said the government is beginning to be impatient with the double-speak that the communists have been doing.

While their the Netherlands-based leaders suggest to minimize offensives against state security forces, guerrilla fighters in the hinterlands have launched series of attacks particularly in Iloilo and in various parts of Mindanao.

NPA attacks in Mindanao, Abella said, have “further fueled the public’s doubts on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them,” adding the Palace is “disturbed” by the said attacks.

“We are disturbed by the recent NPA attacks considering that their leaders in Europe issued a statement condemning the incident in Marawi, even offering to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable our government forces to deal with focus on the rebellion still happening,” Abella said.

“These NPA attacks disrupt the conducive and enabling environment indispensable in peace making and peace building,” he added.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, for his part, lamented the incident, saying it should not affect the hopes of a bilateral ceasefire between the two parties.

“It is disheartening to note that such attacks provide a negative impact in our mutual commitment with the NDF to provide that enabling environment conducive to the continuation of peace negotiations with them,” Dureza said in a statement.

“The impact is not just on the peace negotiations, it illustrates the tragedy of the insurgency.

Hopefully, the attack is just part of the birthpains of the agreement to stop offensive military actions, even if it covers only Mindanao as of now. It is an argument for a nation-wide ceasefire,” he added.

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