Statement | February 12, 2017
After the lifting of the ceasefire and President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the peace talks between the GRP and NDFP in the first week of February, combat and annihilating operations have been launched by the AFP and PNP against the NPA and people in NEMR. Under the command of the 4th ID PA, units of the 29th IB, 3rd SFB, 26th IB under the 401st Bde and 30th IB, 36th IB, 75th IB, DRC, 2nd SFB, Scout Ranger under the 402nd Bde, have been mobilized for simultaneous military attacks. Also participating in these operations are the SAF and RPSB of the PNP. These, aside from the dispersed armed teams of the COPD/PDOP in barrios of the region with their civil-military operations and psywar.
This is the face of the new counter-insurgency military campaign of the AFP, Oplan “Kapayapaan”, implemented after the failed Oplan Bayanihan.
In Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte, the AFP concentrated its forces in brigade operations to go after NPA-Front 16 and harass the people. While in other parts of the region, it has dispersed its platoons into company-size operations.
Military operations of the enemy never stopped in the region even when the declaration of ceasefires by the two parties (GRP and NDFP) were still in effect. The AFP launched widespread intelligence work, psywar and civil-military operations through COPD/PDOP while launching strike operations now and them. The Duterte regime’s declaration of ceasefire was deceitful and mere lip-service and not carried out by the AFP.
This February, after the lifting of the ceasefire and cancellation of the peace talks, a series of sniping and harassment operations were launched by NPA-Front 21 and Front 16 against enemy troops operating in the barrios of Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte. There were no casualties on the side of the Red fighters.
Last January 29, 2017, Front 16 Red fighters arrested Pfc. Edwin Salan, 27 years old, member of the COPD team of the 30th IB PA in Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte. Last January 30, NPA units of the same front simultaneously harassed 29th IB COPD troops in the barrios of San Isidro, Mahayahay and Hinimbangan in the municipality of Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte. A 75th IB troop was also hit by the NPA in Sitio Brazil, Mat-i, Surigao City and 36th IB COPD forces in Barangay Magtangali, Anao-aon, Surigao del Norte. It was reported that one (1) enemy was killed and three (3) were wounded. These military actions were done to defend the interests of the masses against the abuses of the COPD forces.
There’s nobody else to blame for the ending of the ceasefire and peace talks but the Duterte regime. This was due to the insincerity of the Duterte government in delivering its promises and allowing the AFP to continue its military operations in the mountains.
The NPA have been restraining itself against the deceitful actions of the AFP since the declaration of the ceasefire last August 2016. Since then, 70 barrios within the NEMR area of coverage have been under COPD operations by different units of the AFP under the 4th ID PA. Because the NPA was sincere with its own ceasefire, it conscientiously evaded combat to support the advance of the peace talks for the good of the people.
On the other hand, the people have been complaining of the many human rights violations and abuses committed by the COPD forces of the AFP in the region. But these were ignored by the enemy and the Duterte regime. Instead of rectifying, violations intensified and oplan “tokhang” of its anti-illegal drug campaign, was used against the revolutionary movement. Under these conditions, the masses yearned for an end to the ceasefire to enable the punishment of abusive AFP troops.
As the AFP and the Duterte regime failed to make the CPP-NPA-NDFP surrender and kneel, like a hungry tiger it bared its vicious fangs to hunt down the revolutionary movement. Under these heightening and increasingly brutal military operations of the enemy more human rights violations will be committed. Such as the incident which happened on the dawn of February 11, 2017, when operating troops of the 29th IB and the SFB massacred miners in Sitio Sarog, Ginuyuran, Santiago, Agusan del Norte. Two civilians were killed and 7 were wounded.
Let us prepare ourselves and resist the Duterte regime’s “all out war.” Launch widespread tactical offensives (TO) against operating enemies. HOWEVER, the NPA will temporarily stop tactical offensives against the AFP/PNP in Surigao del Norte and parts of Agusan del Norte to hasten the delivery of assistance to the victims of the February 20, 2017 earthquake.
We also call on the people to be alert, to expose and condemn the human rights abuses of the AFP/PNP troops.
Lastly, we should remember that the imperialists, big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and reactionaries surrounding the Duterte regime do not want genuine peace. They will preserve the exploitative and oppressive system of Philippine society for their greedy interests. There is no other way to attain genuine peace but through the victory of the national democratic revolution by intensifying the people’s war.
Ka Ariel Montero
Regional Operational Command