Communist rebels violating typhoon truce, government says




MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Saturday accused Maoist rebels of violating a self-imposed truce in typhoon-hit areas with attacks on government forces involved in rescue and relief work.

The New People’s Army guerrilla group began a 29-day unilateral ceasefire on December 5 to allow what it said would be unhampered rescue and relief work for victims of Typhoon Bopha that had struck the previous day.

However, the government said the rebels had launched three attacks in typhoon-devastated areas within four days of the supposed truce.

An NPA raid on a police station in Rizal town on the western island of Palawan on Wednesday left one police officer dead and another wounded, said a Philippine government panel involved in stalled peace talks with the rebels.

“We denounce this clear violation of their self-imposed ceasefire,” it said in a statement.

In a second episode two female children of a soldier who had lost his home in the typhoon were abducted, but were freed unharmed a day later, said Lieutenant-Colonel Lyndon Paniza, military spokesman for the area.

NPA guerrillas stopped the family on December 9 as the soldier evacuated his daughters, aged 14 and 12, after a flood washed away their home in San Isidro town on the southern island of Mindanao, he said.

A third attack came when an army unit delivering relief goods to Mindanao typhoon victims was ambushed by the NPA near the town of Talaingod on December 6. There were no casualties, Paniza said.

“It seems that this [truce announcement] is just for publicity purposes,” he told Agence France-Presse.

The communists have been waging an armed rebellion since 1969, and more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the government.

The government suspended peace negotiations with the rebels in November last year due to rebel demands for the release of jailed comrades.

The military estimates the NPA’s current strength at about 4,000 fighters, significantly down from more than 26,000 at its peak in the 1980s.

The armed forces are at the forefront of rescue and relief efforts following the typhoon — the country’s worst natural disaster this year — which left 955 people dead and 841 others missing, according to the civil defence office.

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  • TheGUM

    In the interest of giving both sides equal coverage, the following is from  Agence France Press does not practice responsible journalism, it is engaging in shameless propaganda, using this tragedy to further the selfish interests of corrupt, ruthless state-sponsored fascism (my opinion, that is):

    Davao region-wide NPA ceasefire to address the State of Acute Crisis in Comval, Dav Or, Caraga boundaries
    Rigoberto Sanchez
    NPA Southern Mindanao (Merardo Arce Command)December 15, 2012In the light of the National Democratic Front Mindanao’s decision to declare a 29-day unilateral ceasefire in the aftermath of typhoon Pablo, the Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command New People’s Army will undertake a suspension of offensive military operations against the AFP/PNP/Paramilitary forces covering the provinces of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lingig in Surigao del Sur, and the towns of Trento, Veruela, Loreto, and Sta. Josefa in Agusan del Sur. The NPA Southern Mindanao’s ceasefire coverage is extended to other parts of the region not directly hit by the December 4 tragedy to enable its NPA units to muster all efforts in addressing the State of Acute Crisis afflicting the peasants, Lumads, workers and poor residents of affected areas.Over the last 11 days, NPA units operating in the affected areas have shifted from their various assignments to immediately respond to the needs of the masses. As winds raged fiercely striking houses and timbers, NPA members were with the masses trying to survive from the devastation. A number of Red fighters were hurt, few seriously harmed but no fatalities were reported from the field. Six hours after the typhoon, NPA members surveyed their immediate vicinities, attended to the grieving revolutionary forces who were widowed or orphaned, helped in the rescue efforts, and shared the unit’s foodstuffs supply to the masses. For several days, NPA medics made makeshift clinics and attended to the health needs of the affected masses. Other NPA members repaired the houses and schools and salvaged scraps from the debris to rebuild wrecked roofs and ruined walls. NPA women conducted psychosocial therapy to children who were traumatized; they also comforted the elderly who expressed shock after having gone through a disaster that have not occurred in their midst for as long as they can remember. Families of many Red fighters were also affected, their homes destroyed, their farms ravaged.The NPA Southern Mindanao is cognizant of the grave crisis occurring in at least 24 towns of its regional jurisdiction, in more than a third of its revolutionary forces, in more than a million of peasants, workers, Lumads, and ordinary poor in the two hardest hit provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.The national calamity that was typhoon Pablo has not only snuffed out the lives of more than a thousand people, and left homeless hundreds of thousands of people who areeither now cramped in the evacuation centers or occupying in temporary shelters among the ruins and in far-flung ravaged villages. It has resulted in the state of acute crisis in the major part of Southern Mindanao and boundary towns as it destroyed all the main sources of livelihood of the people. A survey in the affected areas reveal hungry people subsisting on relief goods, bleak and bare mountainous landscapes, depleted water source, dirty rivers, destroyed makeshift, concrete, and hanging bridges, severed coconut palms and banana trees, and wasted farmlands.Gold mining plants in Diwalwal, packing plants of multi-national banana companies in Compostela, and those of the coconut industry in Davao Oriental have all stopped operations due to cut-off electricity and damaged infrastructure, leaving hundreds of thousands of farmworkers, mine workers, and coconut farmers jobless and their families in extreme penury. Desperate masses have resorted to ransacking an NFA rice warehouse, putting up barricades to force passing motorists to leave them some relief goods, begging alms, and scavenging out of the scraps from the wreckage so that they could repair their houses.Indeed, the December 4 tragedy has transformed Comval/Davao Oriental’s backward, export-oriented agricultural economy into a subsistence economy, in terrible acute crisis with long-term economic and social repercussions.And there is no immediate resolution in sight. In the last 11 days, the US-Aquino regime has mainly positioned its fascist AFP to lead in the relief and retrieval operations under Oplan Bayanihan. It has increased the number of AFP/PNP troops with more reinforcements in the affected areas, which were already heavily militarized long before typhoon Pablo occurred. It is appalling that while the AFP played a key role in the big logging and mining operations in the last decades—by being private armies of these firms responsible for the forced clearing operations of Lumad and peasant communities— it is now trying to reinvent itself as the disaster czar and people’s heroes. It is clearly attempting to monopolize all relief and rehabilitation efforts by acting as escorts and implementers of relief assistance from both GPH and private organizations. It is collaborating with the US military troops to participate in assisting Pablo victims, in defiance of our national sovereignty.The US-Aquino regime is taking great pains in trying to assuage the condemnation and the rising discontent of the victims and their families by showcasing the release of some paltry funds. The resources are only fit for a few days of relief goods and insufficient to feed the millions who were devastated by Pablo nationwide. The regime has failed to reach out to the majority of hungry people in the hinterland and far-flung villages.Worse, the Aquino government has ignored all calls to suspend large-scale mining and logging operations, repeal the Mining Act of 1995 and the total ban of big timbre operations. It has failed to truly get down to the root cause of Pablo and its aftermath: imperialist plunder of natural forest covers and climate change as a direct result of huge emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by energy-hungry monopoly capitalist industries. The devastation of Pablo was a consequence of unfettered deforestation and industrial emission all over the world. Sadly, the people have dearly paid the price 50 years after big logging concessionaires like Valma and PICOP have shaved off the forests of Southern Mindanao and in Caraga, and 30 years after big mining companies struck in gold-rich towns of Comval and Davao Oriental.Meantime, the NPA assures the safety and security of all well-meaning individuals and private entities that wish to assist Pablo victims; thus there is no need for them to ask the military and the police to be their bodyguard or defense convoy. As the NPA is on unilateral ceasefire, the NPA enjoins the AFP units participating in relief and rehabilitation activities in the affected areas to be unarmed, not combat-ready and to desist from conducting intelligence activities. While the NPA will temporarily stop launching tactical offensives against its legitimate military targets, it will remain active in defending itself from the enemy’s overt and covert operations.As the impact of typhoon Pablo will be felt for a long time and recovery nowhere in sight, the NPA urges the people to struggle to make the forest plunderers and inept LGU officials be held accountable for the tragedy. Now, more than ever, the people’s war for social justice and emancipation from capitalist/landlord exploitation is advancing in the face of extreme crisis and state neglect. Recovery of damaged farmlands, regeneration of denuded mountains, and rebuilding of social infrastructures are pressing tasks that the people must endeavor. The answer to the cries of the masses lies in the genuine land reform and state subsidy. The NPA and the people’s democratic government will persevere in serving the people in the guerilla bases and affected communities and implement its agrarian revolution program in applicable areas.###

  • TheGUM

    More propaganda shamelessly using this tragedy to demonize those who are fighting for a humane world.  Shame, shame, shame Agence France Press!  Shame on the PDI for allowing this travesty!

    • UPLB-2008-3****

      fighting for a humane world? so how “humane” are those internal purges? 

    • MULEN

      Humane world my a$$! What exactly are these scumbags doing to be construed as fighting for a humane world? Exacting extortion on the hapless farmers in the countryside? Get real, f@g. You’re just full of bullsh!t rhetoric. 

  • luzviminda88

    Ang mga hinyupak na yan Aquino ang pulbusin niyo kasi mga salot sila sa lipunan hindi ang RH Bill na akda ng demonyo ang atupagin. Big mistake , your not solving the country’s problem instead adding fire with fire. 

    • Edwin Edwin

      don ka sa ibang column ngumawa wag dito. Ang topic dito ay yong violation ng mga NPA and not the RH Bill….

      Napaghahalata ang sobrang paggamit ng solvent at rugby eh… hehehe :)

  • sakinlang

    These Maoist are rebels! Treat them as they are — rebels and that’s it. There shouldn’t be any peace talks with the rebels.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Hindi balance ang Agence France-Presse dahil hindi kinuha ang statement ng kabila kung ito nga paratang na ito ay totoo. Akala ko ba ganyan ang balance journalism?

    • MULEN

      Magsumbong ka sa lelong mong panot sa Netherlands. 

  • i_am_filipino

    they are not rebels, communist or NPA, they are TERRORISTS!!

  • poordoy

    pakita kayo sa publiko kung tama kayo, lagi na lang kayong nagtatago sa kabundukan, baba sa bundok mangkidnap ng negosyante, farmer, at papatay ng kung sino sino kung ayaw sa inyo o ayaw magbayad ng revolutionary tax…. akala ko ba para sa taong bayan ang ginagawa niyo, mga road project ng gobyerno hinahadlangan niyo, sinusunog mga ekipo, binabantaan mga barangay kapitan….

    mga armas ninyo AK-47, mga kumunista nga kayo opssss Terorista pala opssss both na lang terorista kumunista…..

  • blainz

    The NPA got struck by the typhoon too, so where else can they resupply but the towns they extort from. Ceasefires are just a way for these goons to rearm and pick off targets gone soft due to complacency.

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