NPA now on “active defense mode” against aggressive AFP and PNP operations

NDFP Media Office
Press statement by NDFP Negotiating Panel chair Fidel V. Agcaoili
January 31, 2017

Secretary Jesus Dureza has, in a recent statement, expressed distress over recent reports of clashes between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

We declare that as of today, there have been no orders from the CPP-NPA leadership to revoke its unilateral ceasefire declaration. The CPP-NPA’s unilateral ceasefire remains in place.

What the reported skirmishes indicate is that the GRP military and police have become even more aggressive after their “success” in the Makilala, North Cotabato incident where they violated their own ceasefire by mounting a day-long offensive against an NPA unit and attacked the latter in its encampment, killing a Red fighter. It also means that given the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP)’s increasing incursions and attacks on communities, the NPA has been obliged to take an active defense posture to defend and protect the communities and its forces.

The NPA’s active defense posture is consistent with the guidelines issued by the NPA National Operational Command when it declared its unilateral ceasefire. The only reason why there have been no clashes prior to the Makilala incident is because the NPA forces went beyond the NPA-NOC’s guidelines by exercising maximum restraint and maneuvering to avoid firefights with the aggressor troops. For a full five months, marauding AFP and PNP troops and their paramilitary forces entered and terrorized the communities and disrupted the people’s economic activities without incident.

If armed clashes have now occurred between the AFP/PNP and the NPA, it is because intensified armed provocations from increasingly emboldened GRP military, paramilitary and police forces have given the NPA no choice but to actively defend its forces and the people.

It will be recalled that EASTMINCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, during the command’s 10th anniversary celebrations, even boasted that because of the ceasefire, his command was able to clear 115 barangays of NPA influence in their area of operations. In Southern Tagalog, soldiers conducting similar “clearing operations” have been telling the peasant masses that state military and police forces were now free to enter the guerrilla zones because they were confident that the NPA would not attack them.

The AFP has been most aggressively using the ceasefire to provoke the NPA and conduct psywar operations against the NPA and the people. The NPA has been exercising maximum restraint in the face of these provocations and “base denial” operations of the AFP under the guise of “peace and development activities.” In these “peace and development activities,” GRP soldiers force residents to confess to their involvement in the revolutionary movement and inform on their fellow villagers. They are then presented as “rebel surrenderees” after which the barrio is proclaimed as “insurgency-free”.

Secretary Dureza should remember that the NDFP’s unilateral ceasefire declaration was in response to the GRP’s promise of substantial releases of the sick, elderly, women and long-held detainees, as well as the withdrawal of the military from communities, the fulfillment of which would have laid the firm basis for a more stable ceasefire and encouraged further the acceleration of the peace negotiations.

In the face of all this, the NDFP reiterates that the revolutionary forces on the ground remain fully supportive of the peace process. We remain committed to push the peace negotiations forward.

Secretary Dureza should note that we have had three rounds of formal talks (with another round scheduled in April 2017) in which we have made considerable advances towards forging the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms in order to meet the deadline set this year. We have also succeeded in exchanging tentative drafts for the comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms.

We strongly advise Secretary Dureza not to raise the bogey of disunity among the ranks of the revolutionary movement. The last time the GRP did this was in 2005 and 2006, when then AFP chief Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. spread the lie that the state-sponsored extrajudicial killings and involuntary disappearances of activists, innocent civilians and revolutionaries were the result of purges inside the movement. Esperon’s lie was exposed when UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Hon. Philip Alston declared Esperon’s allegation as false or “strikingly unconvincing” and a “cynical attempt to displace responsibility.”

The NDFP shall hold the GRP responsible for anything untoward that may happen to the ongoing peace negotiations as a result of its bellicose statements on the actions of the NPA to defend itself and protect communities after the Makilala incident.###

Dan Borjal

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