Aquino’s 30-day ‘ceasefire’ is a big lie

By Communist Party of the Philippines

The Aquino regime’s declaration of a 30-day suspension of military and police offensives (SOMO/SOPO) is a big lie. Despite its supposed effectivity since 18 December 2014, units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary groups have not ceased to conduct offensive maneuvers, deployments and combat operations up to this day.

The CPP continues to receive reports regarding the militarization of communities in Davao City; as well as in the towns of Mabini, Mawab, Nabunturan, Maragusan, Monkayo, Maco, Compostela and New Bataan in Compostela Valley; in Mati City, Banaybanay, Lupon, Baganga, Cateel, Boston and San Isidro in Davao Oriental; in Magpet, North Cotabato; and in Loreto and Trento in Agusan del Sur.

Army soldiers continue to go around communities, occupying barangay (village) halls, day care centers, village schools and sports centers, harassing people, traumatizing children, and disturbing community peace and order.

AFP operations during the so-called SOMO/SOPO have been especially intense in areas where people have militantly resisted the entry of mining companies. In Mabini town, an 80-strong combat unit of the 71st Infantry Battalion continues to conduct “clearing operations” in barangays Palali, Panamin and Mascareg to quell resistance against the planned entry of One Asia Resources, an Australian mining firm. The operations of the 71st Infantry Battalion are being funded by One Asia.

The abuses of the 71st IB prompted local units of the people’s militia to ambush on 29 December 2014 a team of Army soldiers led by its commander 1Lt. Ronald Bautista, who had just left their detachment in Barangay Anitapan. Bautista and two of his men were killed in the ambush.

On 26 December, the 4th Infantry Division deployed units all over the Caraga region to set up road blocks to prevent thousands of people from reaching Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, where celebrations of the 46th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines were held.

Despite relentless operations of the AFP, the New People’s Army successfully released six prisoners of war in Montevista, Compostela Valley and in Surigao del Sur, and handed them over to concerned humanitarian agencies and personalities. However, continuing military offensive operations in Gigacuit, Surigao del Norte, have prompted the NDFP-Mindanao leadership to order the cancellation of the release of three other prisoners of war scheduled for yesterday.

It is clear that Aquino’s declaration of a 30-day SOMO/SOPO is a big lie. Over the past three weeks, military and police units observed no holidays and showed no letup in the conduct of their counter-guerrilla operations and militarization of communities under the Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression.