By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), as a matter of principle, undertakes all efforts possible to provide assistance to the communities adversely affected by calamities. In areas under its political control, the revolutionary organs of political power carry out relief and rehabilitation with the able assistance of the mass organizations, the units of the New People’s Army, and other revolutionary forces. In other areas, the NDFP provides assistance to the extent possible without endangering the security of its forces and the people. It encourages and assists the civilian agencies and organizations that undertake relief and rehabilitation work.
The NDFP has condemned the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for allowing the coming in of US troops supposedly to carry out relief operations. The NDFP is also against the use of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the police for relief operations and rehabilitation work. The display and use of firearms by the US and the GRP have nothing to do with relief and rehabilitation. It is an attempt to prepare the public mind to accept the presence of US troops and to allow them and the GRP military and police forces to carry out intelligence work especially in areas near NDFP territory.
A prolonged ceasefire for calamity-stricken areas will be used by the military, police and paramilitary forces of the GRP as well as US military forces as a license for invading NDFP territory and attacking the revolutionary forces and the people.
The NDFP is aware of the experience in Mindanao, where the AFP and PNP repeatedly violate their ceasefire agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front by claiming to go after so-called terrorists or criminals.
The NDFP must ensure the safety of the communities and protect the mass organizations and organs of political power in its areas. Therefore, it does not agree to a prolonged ceasefire for relief and rehabilitation work in calamity-stricken areas. There is no reason for the presence of US or GRP troops in these areas. Civilian agencies and people’s organizations can very well do the relief and rehabilitation work.