Reds mull temporary ceasefire in tremor-hit Mindanao
LUCENA CITY — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced on Friday that the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindanao is studying the possibility of declaring a temporary unilateral ceasefire to help earthquake victims and assist relief and aid workers in far-flung areas.
“The regional Party committee and NPA command can consider declaring a temporary ceasefire so that Red fighters can concentrate on relief work for a few days,” Marco Valbuena, CPP public information officer, told the Inquirer in an online interview.
But he added: “However, they will have to weigh the relentless brutal military operations being carried out by the 73rd and 39th IB, and the SAF and RPSB forces (these are units serving as company guards of the Tampakan Mines and other big companies), in the areas of devastation.”
Valbuena said the CPP has ordered its armed wing, the NPA, to exert efforts to help tremor victims.
“The Party calls on the revolutionary forces under its Far South Mindanao Regional Committee and the NPA units to exert maximum effort to help the peasant masses and minority people in the affected areas,” Valbuena said.
He said the Maoist-inspired guerrillas and their allies could assist in rebuilding damaged homes, and repairing farms and community facilities.
“The NPA can secretly work with relief organizations who wish to deliver food and other supplies to the difficult-to-reach areas,” Valbuena said.
He confirmed that the series of strong tremors also affected some NPA units and areas under the influence of the communist rebels, although the CPP has yet to receive final reports on the extent of the damage.
“But since most of the areas are mountainous and farmlands, there are threats of landslides. But we have also yet to receive reports about that,” Valbuena said.
He said the CPP extends its sympathies to the people gravely affected by the earthquakes, particularly those in Tulunan, Cotabato, and other nearby towns./lzb
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