CPP refutes NPA surrender in Southern Tagalog; tags event as ‘farce’
LUCENA CITY, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) strongly refuted the reported mass surrender of New People’s Army (NPA) fighters in Southern Tagalog that coincided with the 51st founding anniversary of the NPA.
“The surrender ceremonies conducted by the 2nd ID are a big farce, a gross lie,” Marco Valbuena, CPP chief public information officer, said in an email statement Sunday afternoon.
Earlier, the military in Southern Tagalog reported that at least 40 alleged communist insurgents from Quezon, Rizal and Laguna provinces surrendered on Sunday in a ceremony held in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna, coinciding with NPA’s 51st founding anniversary.
Valbuena claimed that the military was only after the millions of pesos given by the government for rebel returnees under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
He also belied allegation by the military that the NPA rebels were planning to attack government forces before the encounter that happened in the village of Puray in Rodriguez, Rizal on Saturday.
“Though I have yet to verify it but the military themselves admitted that they were in the village. They were the ones preparing for an offensive,” he retorted.
He insisted that the NPA rebels were not violating their unilateral ceasefire as they were busy waging an information and health campaign to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“The NPA has responded to the call of the UN for a global ceasefire,” Valbuena stressed.
In a press statement, Captain Jayrald Ternio, head of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, claimed that the villagers informed the soldiers about the presence of the rebels in the area and their alleged plan to conduct offensive action against the state security forces.
The encounter left dead a soldier and an NPA rebel. Two soldiers were also wounded.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire from March 19 to April 15 as Luzon was placed under an “enhanced community quarantine” to contain the spread of COVID-19. The CPP followed suit and also announced a ceasefire from March 26 to April 15.
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