By RUBI DEL MUNDO
Spokesperson, NDFP-Southern Mindanao
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao refuted the preposterous claim of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the New People's Army violated the ceasefire agreement during the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations last week in the light of the numerous AFP combat and psychological warfare operations in the region.
To cover-up its violations in Southern Mindanao, AFP General Headquarter's spin master head Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. has peddled the lie that the NPA violated the ceasefire last 18 February in Barangay (village) Mahayag, Banaybanay in Davao Oriental. The AFP's preposterous claim is as desperate as Lt. Col. Burgos who wants to deodorize a bankrupt AFP and berdugos of the people.
The AFP perpetrated the following violations in Southern Mindanao during the 15-21 February mutual GPH-NDFP ceasefire:
In Compostela Valley Province, the 5th Scout Rangers Company conducted combat operations in Sitio Puting Bato, Barangay Ngan and in Sitio Side Four, Barangay Manggayon, Compostela; and in Maragusan. The 71st Infantry Battalion, AFP, conducted so-called Civil Military Operations and encamped within civilian communities in Maco. While the the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3rd SF-Bn) unleashed combat patrol operations in Purok 3, Barangay San Jose and in Matin-ay, Barangay New Cortes, all in the town of New Corella from 18 to 20 February.
The 3rd SF-Bn also continued its RSOT (Reengineered Special Operations Teams) operations in the villages of New Dalaguet, Kamantangan, San Vicente and Hinabatan, all in Montevista town. On 20 February, dawn, a squad of the 3rd SF-Bn conducted combat patrol in Sitio Padada, Barangay Mambing, New Corella.
In Davao Oriental, Scout Rangers encamped within a civilian community in Sitio Pagkaw, Barangay Aragon, Cateel. The 67th Infantry Battalion conducted civil-military operations (CMOs) and employed psy-war tactics against the civilians in Sitio Maitom, Barangay Tubaon, Taragona, in Barangay Macopa, Man-ay and in Sitio Matabang, Barangay Taocanga, Man-ay. The 67th IB deployed two company-size troops in Barangay Taocanga. The 28th IB-AFP also conducted perimeter operations in Banay-Banay.
In Agusan Del Sur, platoon-size AFP troops conducted combat operations in Sitio Cogonon, Barangay Salvacion in Trento.
Within the ceasefire period, the 5th Scout Rangers Company conducted long-range strike operations in the hinterland Compostela Valley Province and parts in Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur.
In Davao del Norte, troops under the 60th IB launched RSOT operations in the guise of "peace and development outreach programs" in the villages of Suwaon, Gabuyan, Tiburcia, Luna and Florida, all in Kapalong town.
In Davao City, around 5 PM, 19 February, some 60 troops under the 84th IB-AFP launched combat operations that entered Purok 4, Barangay Carmen, Baguio District. A platoon entered through Purok 5 going to Tabak, Barangay Carmen while the rest of its troops exited through Malagos in Calinan early the next day, 20 February.
These ceasefire violations have only shown the 10th Infantry Division, AFP, treachery even to its own declaration, and its mounting rights violations against the people. The recent 10th ID-AFP violations to its self-declared week long ceasefire further unmasked the AFP's pseudo posturing on peace and development. By deliberately trampling the agreed GPH-NDFP ceasefire during the formal peace talks resumption only showed that the AFP desperately wants to subvert the people's will to formally discuss the social-economic and root causes of the civil war in the country.
Unrelenting combat and psywar operations in various villages in Southern Mindanao amid the AFP's own suspension of offensive military operations only point to the military's temerity on violating agreements and human rights.
The NPA, on the other hand, has showed keen political sense and stood on high moral ground as it did not only conscientiously upheld the ceasefire declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines, it has also safely and orderly released its prisoners of war as acts of good will and as confidence-building measures for the GPH-NDFP formal peace talks resumption.
The revolutionary movement has painstakingly worked with the toiling masses for revolutionary land reform and for a just and lasting peace. It will continue to level up the national democratic revolution to reach the strategic stalemate stage of the people's war.