After several years, the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) resumed under the Rodrigo Duterte administration. As outcomes of the peace talks, the previous signed agreements were reaffirmed including the JASIG and CARHRIHL and the decision to fast track the succeeding agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (SER) was reached. The talks resulted in the declaration of unilateral ceasefires by the GRP and the NDFP in August of this year which remains in effect.

The New People’s Army (NPA) has sincerely abided by the order of ceasefire since August of this year. But the mercenary AFP continue to launch military operations in the countryside under Oplan Bayanihan, masquerading as “anti-illegal drug campaign” and “peace and development outreach program.”

In NEMR, not less than 70 barrios are under COPD/PDOP operations within 15 municipalities in the 4 provinces of Caraga. Around seven (7) to 40 AFP troops encamp in civilian facilities or houses in the community. There, the AFP wreak fear or psywar, deceive and commit direct human rights violations against residents especially members of progressive organizations. Instead of peace, it wrought havoc in communities. Instead of implementing solutions to illegal drugs and crime, it has promoted immorality, conflict among families, robbery, pornography and other anti-social behaviors, to spread. Illegal drugs still proliferate in the communities despite military presence while cases of human rights violations committed against progressive organizations in the barrios is ever increasing.

The actions of the AFP in NEMR directly violate and contradict the statements of President Duterte on peace and his declaration of ceasefire. The cessation of armed conflicts in NEMR is not because the AFP abided by the ceasefire, but because the NPA has been sincere in adhering to the directive of the National Operations Command of the NPA and the directive given by the Communist Party of the Philippines on the ceasefire. The NDFP and the people of Caraga aspire to achieve just peace, not peace borne from deceit and fear sowed by the AFP. Thus, the appeal of the masses to the NPA to stop the fascist acts of the AFP, is ever increasing and rising.

The AFP must stop their COPD/PDOP operations which has been spreading fear and suffering in the barrios. The AFP must adhere to the ceasefire. The revolutionary movement will always heed the cry of the masses of the people, and so, if the AFP will not be sincere, the revolutionary forces are always ready for the condition when the ceasefire will be lifted, so it will be able to defend the people.

Maria Malay