AFP chief slams NPA for truce breach
MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday accused the New People’s Army of violating its own ceasefire declaration.
“Yun nga nakakalungkot, despite the declaration of the ceasefire maraming atrocities ang nangyayari nationwide and I don’t know if that is reflective of their control over the units on the ground (That’s what is saddening. Despite the declaration of the ceasefire there are still several NPA atrocities taking place nationwide, and I don’t know if that is reflective of their control over the units on the ground),” Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.
“It’s just sad that there are some atrocities being committed in spite of the calamity that befell us. There are other atrocities against non-military targets in Zamboanga and Compostela Valley. There was also a chapel that was targeted,” he added.
The NPA extended to one month its unilateral ceasefire on Saturday. It first declared a ceasefire in areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) when it struck Central Philippines, and was originally set to expire on Nov. 24. The extended ceasefire will remain in effect until December 24.
Yolanda is the strongest storm to make landfall in recent world history. It has killed thousands and affected about 10 million people. The NPA claimed in a statement that it will use its forces to help in rehabilitation efforts.
The ceasefire, however, only covers the following regional commands of the NPA: Eastern Visayas Regional Command, Panay Regional Command, Central Visayas Regional Command and Negros Island Command. The government has not reciprocated the ceasefire.
But on Sunday, the military in Western Visayas reported an attack by the NPA in La Libertad town in Negros Oriental.
Major Ray Tiongson of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division said that about 10 members of the NPA fired at soldiers on security patrol. The encounter led to the killing of an NPA rebel while the government suffered no casualties.
Bautista assured that they will remain focused on disaster relief operations.
He said the AFP has reinforced troops in the Visayas to help typhoon survivors as he expressed hope that the NPA will observe the truce.
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