NPA warns about AFP troop deployments in Southern Mindanao NDFP territories

RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ
Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operational Command

The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People's Army has been receiving reports from the guerilla fronts on the continued enemy movement within the guerilla territories of the People's Democratic Government. The 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has craftily moved troops and war materiel into forward positions in the hinterlands in Southern Mindanao and positioned them for a preemptive offensive strike while its own suspension of military operations (SOMO) is supposed to be in effect.

Shortly before the 16 December SOMO, the 10th ID-AFP had massed their troops in the interior villages of Paquibato, Davao City. Batches of 10th ID-AFP enemy troops onboard five 6×6 AFP trucks arrived in Davao City's interior Barangays Mapula and Pandaitan.

On the eve of the 16 December ceasefire, three AFP attack helicopters provided air support to additional enemy troops deployed in the interior Paquibato villages of Pandaitan, Paquibato proper, Mapula, Salapawan and Malabog, all in Davao City.

The MAC-SMROC-NPA considers the current troop deployment of the 10th ID-AFP in the Southern Mindanao interior barangays as part of the AFP's unrelenting offensive combat operations in the region. It shows the 10th ID-AFP's duplicity vis-a-vis its own 19-day SOMO declaration.

While the Armed Forces of the Philippines went to greater lengths nitpicking the NPA tactical offensives which occurred before the SOMO started last 16 December — it is in fact the AFP which has continued violating their own ceasefire declaration not only by its failure to pull-out its troops but by its continuous deployment of troops and war materiel in the region's interior barangays and into NDFP territories.

These treacherous maneuvers of the 10th ID-AFP are offensive combat operations. Participating enemy soldiers except those who are in their detachments and outposts shall be treated as on the offensive mode and therefore are considered as legitimate targets even within the duration of the SOMO.

While the MAC-NPA conscientiously upholds the ceasefire declaration of the national leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines as an act of goodwill for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks and a humanitarian gesture for the traditional holidays, the Red fighters remain vigilant, on active defense mode at all levels and combat-ready for any eventuality.

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