NPA declares unilateral ceasefire for relief and rehabilitation efforts

By Martin Montana, Spokesperson
Chadli Molintas Command
NPA Ilocos-Cordillera Region

The Chadli Molintas Command (CMC) of the New People’s Army-Ilocos and Cordillera Region hereby declares a unilateral ceasefire from 15-21 October 2009 to assist in relief, retrieval, and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of the recent disasters caused by Typhoon Pepeng in the region.

During this period, all units under the CMC are ordered to immediately:

  1. Render, to the extent of their capabilities, all possible medical and health services to the victims of Typhoon Pepeng in their respective areas of operations.

  2. Mobilize underground mass organizations, sympathizers, progressive allies, and the rest of the people in their areas of operations who have been spared from the wrath of the recent disaster to generate food and other humanitarian aid for the victims.

  3. Assist in the rehabilitation of homes, farming equipment, and farms of the victims.

  4. Assist in the formation and training of revolutionary people’s emergency brigades as first responders during times of disaster in guerilla zones and other remote parts of the regions.

  5. Extend environmental awareness education to the masses in their areas of operations.

All units under the CMC are directed to adopt an active defensive posture, to remain vigilant and defend themselves from any military operation that might be launched during this unilateral ceasefire period.

The recent disasters and the marked change in our climate are nature’s vicious payback for the decades of environmental abuse by the local ruling classes and imperialist countries, especially the United States.

Warlord politicians continue to wantonly operate large-scale logging concessions in the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountain ranges. Open pit mining in Sto. Niño, Tublay and Itogon in Benguet, have stripped the soil of supportive vegetation. Large-scale block mining methods used by the Benguet Corporation in Itogon and still in use by the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company in Mankayan, Benguet have undermined the foundations of entire settlements and communities.

Huge dams were built across major Cordillera rivers to generate power for the mines and other industrial enterprises. These dams have contributed to the recent flooding that wrought havoc on the lives and properties of people in the lowlands. On a larger scale, carbon emmissions by industrialized countries, foremost of them the United States, have greatly contributed to global warming and climate change.

It is the poor and the powerless who suffer the most during disasters. They now crowd ill-prepared evacuation centers, their meager sources of livelihood and homes and loved ones gone in a horrible instant.

And how fare those whose greed have caused all these to happen? This disaster, as those in the past, is just a bump on the road for them. They continue to live their lives seemingly impervious to nature’s wrath.

We commend the efforts of all people engaged in relief, rescue, and rehabilitation efforts. On the other hand, we have only the harshest condemnation for those whose job has been to see to it that disasters such as these would not happen. Gloria Arroyo and her cabinet have been flitting from one disaster site to another, supposedly to emphatize with the people, but mostly for a media blitz to show them in positive light.

Arroyo is a staunch advocate for large-scale mining and other environmentally destructive enterprises. Under her administration, the DENR and other such agencies tasked with protecting the environment have approved and pushed the operations of large-scale mining and logging companies.

Let us not forget that even Malacañang mouthpieces admitted in the past few months that part of the funds spent on Arroyo’s frequent and lavish foreign trips have been accessed from the president’s calamity fund. The unconscionable amount they spent to stuff themselves with fine food and wine in classy foreign restaurants would have been better spent on basic equipment that would have helped mitigate the effects of the recent disaster.

There is glaring need to serve justice on those whose greed, ineptitude, and insensitivity have led to the terrible loss of lives, property, and sources of livelihood. They must be made to answer for their crimes against this generation and the next.