DAVAO CITY – Communist rebels have terminated its unilateral ceasefire after accusing the Duterte government of reneging on its commitment to free all political prisoners languishing in jails across the country.
Jorge Madlos, a spokesman for the New People’s Army, said rebel forces were also ordered to resume offensives against police and military, including pro-government militias and death squads, as well as drug traffickers and warlords.
“Subsequent to the expiration of our unilateral ceasefire, all territorial and unit commands of the NPA are hereby ordered to take full initiative in planning, coordinating and carrying out military campaigns and tactical offensives against the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the various paramilitary units and death squads of the Duterte government, drug traffickers and operators of the drug trade and large-scale gambling, private armies and private armed groups of warlords, local tyrants as well as spies,” Madlos said.
He said the NPA ceasefire, which began in August 28 last year, had been extended for over 150 days hoping it would hasten the release of the political prisoners, but Duterte had repeatedly failed to free at least 200 detainees as he promised before the resumption of the stalled peace talks with the government.
Duterte said he would only free the political prisoners if the rebels agree on a permanent ceasefire.
“The Duterte regime failed to fulfill such obligation even though the Communist Party of the Philippines obliged it by extending the ceasefire declaration to more than 150 days. The Duterte government has treacherously taken advantage of the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire to encroach on the territory of the people’s democratic government. Across 164 municipalities and 43 provinces, the Armed Forces of the Philippines have occupied at least 500 barrios which are within the authority of the revolutionary government,” Madlos said.
He said the NPA will also continue to enforce policies and laws of the “people’s democratic government” and perform necessary and appropriate functions of governance, and mobilize the people and resources in territories under its authority.
“The NPA will enforce economic policies pertaining to land rent, usurious loans, wages, means of livelihood, provision of social services; as well as policies for the protection of the environment and defense of the interests of national minorities, peasants and workers affected by large-scale mining, logging and plantation operations,” Madlos said.
Still Supporting Peace Talks
But despite the termination of the ceasefire, Madlos said they will continue to support the peace talks with the Duterte government. “Even as we terminate the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire, we continue to support the peace negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992. In our experience and in the experience of other peoples, it is possible to negotiate while fighting until the substantive agreements are forged to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.”
“We oppose the use of interim ceasefires as basis for a protracted or indefinite ceasefire without substantial benefit for the people and their revolutionary forces and for laying aside peace negotiations on substantive issues such as social, economic and political reforms. Such is tantamount to the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary people and forces,” he said.
NPA leaders had repeatedly accused the military of attacking rebel forces in southern Philippines and just recently, 8 army soldiers and an insurgent died in fierce clashes in North Cotabato’s Makilala town, according Rigoberto Sanchez, also an NPA spokesman.
The NPA denounced the military attack and calling it a “sinister combat operation.”
“Since August last year it continued to mobilize its troops and paramilitaries in various forms of combat operations such as intelligence gathering, combat and psychological warfare in far-flung areas that resulted in harassments; extra-judicial killings of civilians Rita and Norberto Gascon on September 13 in Arakan town and Rolan Malignan on November 22 and the enforced evacuation of several families in Magpet town on December 6,” Sanchez said, adding, the ceasefire (agreement) in the province only existed because the NPA was consciously maneuvering its forces in order to avoid armed skirmish in the face of unrelenting military and police combat operations.
“The NPA consistently demonstrated its commitment the negotiations while the AFP and the PNP have continued to make a mockery of the peace process,” he said.
The rebels are fighting for many decades now for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)
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