Widespread military operations violate AFP's ceasefire declaration*
CPP Information Bureau
December 20, 2010
The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army-Eastern Visayas today accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines of violating its own ceasefire from Dec. 16, 2010 to Jan.3, 2011 in widespread military operations in Las Navas, Northern Samar and Matuguinao, Western Samar. "According to reports from NPA units in the field, extensive military operations by the 8th Infantry Division are ongoing in adjacent areas in Las Navas and Matuguinao," said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. "The operating troops are estimated at 150-200 elements from the 63rd IB and 87th IB, with Scout Rangers and other forces under the 803rd Infantry Brigade, as well as CAFGU paramilitaries. These military operations commenced with troops build-ups on the first week of December, even before the NPA's ambush on 63rd IB troops in Brgy. Sta. Fe, Las Navas on Dec. 14. The 8th ID chief, Gen. Mario Chan, is therefore lying when he claims the ambushed troops were returning to barracks to observe the ceasefire -- they were in fact part of continuing combat operations. There are also reports of many human rights violations committed by the military."
Manuel said the NPA report as of Dec. 18 observed that the AFP troops were not returning to barracks but were still continuing maneuvers that began Dec. 14-15, though their ceasefire was supposed to start at midnight of Dec. 16. He identified the following 8th ID troop dispositions:
1. A column of AFP troops was monitored to be maneuvering from combat operations in Brgy. Ligaya, Matuguinao to Brgy. Cuenco, Las Navas on Dec. 15. The soldiers were guided by CAFGU paramilitary and "Hapa-hapa" criminal gang member "Lido" from Matuguinao.
2. Another column of AFP troops began maneuvers in Brgy. San Isidro, Las Navas and were in Brgy. Ligaya, Matuguinao as of Dec. 14. They were guided by "Hapa-hapa" criminal gang members Serbin and Darwing from Matuguinao.
3. Around 60 soldiers from the military camp in Las Navas are on combat operations in the hinterlands in Brgy. Paco of the same town.
4. A column of 60 soldiers from the 803rd Infantry Brigade was monitored to be in ambush position by the Hipili River, Las Navas.
5. There are also AFP troops who are based at Brgy. Poponton, Las Navas and dispersed in the houses of civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law.
The EMC spokesperson assailed Gen. Chan for acting with treachery and deceit despite the AFP's ceasefire declaration, even going so far as to accusing the NPA with acting in bad faith in the Dec. 14 Las Navas ambush and questioning the sincerity of the NDFP for the peace talks. "Gen. Chan lambasts the NPA for the Las Navas ambush, but hides the fact that his ambushed troops were not returning to barracks but on combat operations since the first week of December. He feigns concern for the AFP casualties, but has no compunctions on still sending his troops on combat operations in violation of the the AFP ceasefire. The 8th ID chief has no regard for the well-being of his troops, he is increasingly belying the AFP's ceasefire as crap, and he is certainly causing ill-will and putting the sincerity of the Aquino government for the peace talks into question."
Manuel however clarified the NPA will not be undertaking offensive operations against the AFP troops and will only be on active defense as per the NPA ceasefire declaration from Dec. 16 to Jan. 3. "The Efren Martires Command assures the officials and members of the AFP and PNP that the NPA ceasefire is holding up. As long as they have not committed any serious crimes against the people, they are free to individually visit their families and friends inside the territory of the people's democratic government. Meanwhile, the NPA will continue to monitor and inform the people of further violations by the AFP of its own ceasefire. The AFP's ceasefire observation will be a litmus test that will either bode well or be the bane of the prospects for peace negotiations."