Friday, February 25, 2011

The NPA showed high sense of discipline and political maturity in observing the mutual ceasefire between the NDFP and the GPH

The NPA showed high sense of discipline and political maturity
in observing the mutual ceasefire between the NDFP and the GPH*

Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
February 22, 2011

The NDFP in Mindanao salutes and congratulates all commands and units of the New People's Army (NPA) in Mindanao and the rest of the country for its display of a high sense of political maturity, responsibility and military discipline during the mutually-declared seven-day ceasefire between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH).

Also, NPA units in Southern Mindanao, in an act of goodwill and for humanitarian reasons, have released three prisoners-of-war (POWs) on separate occasions during the same period, further creating a more favourable atmosphere and bolster confidence for the peace negotiations and the entire peace process.

In its unequivocal support for the peace talks and the peace process in general, the NPA in Mindanao, maintained its defensive mode from Feb. 15 to 21. The NPA expressed the same sincerity and support during the 18-day ceasefire last Christmas season in spite of the AFP's provocative civil-military operations (CMOs) and other offensive combat operations.

As of this writing, there has not been a single report from Red commanders of the NPA units in Mindanao stating any armed encounters with AFP-PNP-CAFGU during the week-long ceasefire. Offensive military and intelligence operations, including Civil Military Operations (CMOs), that went on unhampered during the 7-day truce were clearly meant to sabotage the peace talks.

CMOs are not "developmental projects" as bragged by AFP, as these operations harass, threaten and even maul revolutionary masses and other unarmed civilians. The NDFP Negotiating Panel earlier wrote the GPH urging that AFP-PNP-CAFGU forces be stationed back to their barracks and move no farther than two kilometres from their camps. But the AFP launched several offensive military operations like CMOs in the name of "developmental projects" in the hinterlands while the NPA units maintained its defensive mode.

Regrettably, we have witnessed, in contrast, the attitude of contempt of the AFP-PNP-CAFGU towards the peace process.

The AFP-PNP-CAFGU intentionally violated its own self-declared ceasefire in Southern Mindanao Region by launching combat-heavy pursuit operations in the hinterlands of the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur against the custodial units of the three POWs. In a desperate attempt to justify these operations, the AFP even resorted to fabricating an incident in Banay-Banay, Davao Oriental where they accused the NPA of violating the ceasefire. Reports coming from the NPA unit in the said area categorically pointed out that no such incident ever occurred.

In Mindanao alone, initial reports from the field indicate that AFP-PNP-CAFGU units committed at least 23 counts of ceasefire violations in the provinces of Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, and Surigao del Norte. Similar violations possibly occurred on a nationwide scale as well.

Worse, the AFP's continued arrest and detention of official NDFP consultants and staff, such as that of NDFP Consultant Alan Jasminez, only shows that the GPH cannot control its mercenary armed forces. It shows utter lack of goodwill and is a serious breach of the JASIG done on the very eve of the commencement of both ceasefire and the formal talks, which does not augur well for the envisioned success of the peace negotiations and the peace process.

Notwithstanding these deliberate truce violations, the NPA, held their fire so as not to disrupt or lay waste chances for the peace talks to prosper. The NDFP -- Mindanao remains hopeful that the peace talks could proceed with the hope that it may arrive at a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict.

Aside from the warmongers and the dyed-in-the--wool corrupt within the higher echelons of the AFP, the NDFP-Mindanao calls on all military forces under the GPH to show sincerity by respecting all mutual agreements, including ceasefires, under the on-going peace talks and the whole peace process.

We call on the NPA and the entire revolutionary forces to remain steadfast with the nationalist-democratic struggle as we endeavour to fulfill the requisites to complete the strategic defensive stage and take the people's war to a higher strategic phase.

We call on the Filipino people, who are in truth the foremost stakeholders in the peace talks, to continue pushing for their agenda in the process of achieving just and lasting peace.

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