NDFP Media Office
June 7, 2017
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) takes strong exception to statements made by Mr. Francisco “Pancho” Lara, Jr., chair of the ceasefire committee of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), that the New People’s Army (NPA) would not be able to join the fight against the Maute group because of its geographical distance from battle-torn Marawi City.
Wilma Tiamzon, who heads the NDFP Reciprocal Working Group on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWG-EHDF), said that Lara should not deck himself out as an analyst of International Alert to pose as an alleged independent observer in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations when, in fact, he is with the GRP and chairs its ceasefire committee.
Mr. Lara capitalizes on his outdated knowledge (circa early 1990s) of the revolutionary movement to ingratiate himself with international non-government organizations and the GRP in securing his means of livelihood and disparaging the revolutionary movement as well as attempting to obtain its capitulation and pacification.
“He is grossly misinformed of the internal situation of the revolutionary movement and the current strength and disposition of the NPA. The Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO) and the NPA, both NDFP allied organizations, have units within Marawi City and nearby areas. They can significantly help fight the Maute group in a direct way,” said Tiamzon.
Tiamzon stated that the main reason for the intensified battles between the NPA and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is the declaration of all-out war by GRP Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana last February against the NPA which has been aggravated by the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
With the all-out war declaration, the AFP has deployed far more troops and conducted far more military operations with the support of aerial bombardment and artillery fire against the NPA and the indigenous and Lumad communities, rather than the Maute group in Butig, Lanao del Sur and now in Marawi City.
“Such lopsided troop disposition is more the result of the wrong choices made, and wrong priorities chosen by the AFP, as exemplified by the relief of the commanding general in charge of the troops in Marawi City before the Maute attack on May 23.”
“The AFP’s misdirected priorities are likewise contrary to the orders of their commander-in-chief to concentrate their efforts on the war against terrorist groups that target and harm civilians solely and mainly,” Tiamzon concluded.###