PH gov’t questions NPA’s sincerity amid attacks; CPP hits back
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace process (Opapp) has criticized the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for its military arm’s alleged offensives in Mindanao.
The government accused the New People’s Army of not only targeting the military but also civilians and private property.
“There were several recent serious offensives in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country allegedly done by CPP/NPA (New People’s Army)/NDF (National Democratic Front) forces that further fuel the public’s doubt on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them,” Opapp said in a statement issued on Saturday.
Malacañang released a similar statement.
Opapp said the offensives violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL).
It pointed out that communist leaders, who at that time were in Europe for the peace talks, even issued statements against terrorist groups in Marawi City and offered to refrain from launching offensives in Mindanao.
“Now this,” Opapp said, referring to the series of clashes between the NPA and the military in the past weeks.
PH gov’t offensives
However, the CPP pointed out that it had yet to see orders from President Rodrigo Duterte telling the military not to engage the NPA.
“If Malacañang cannot show such specific orders by Duterte, then its spokesperson must better refrain from issuing statements which castigates the NPA for carrying out actions against the AFP’s all-out war (against the NPA),” CPP said in a statement released Sunday.
The CPP also reiterated that the NDF had already recommended that the NPA refrain from carrying out offensives in Mindanao – but only if the AFP “will likewise refrain as well from attacking the NPA and the people in the revolutionary base areas in Mindanao.”
“Presently, such conditions do not exist concretely,” the CPP said.
Instead, it accused the government of increasing human rights abuses.
“At least five people have been killed by state forces in Southern Mindanao alone since martial law was declared,” it claimed. “In addition to close to 310,000 people who have been forced to evacuate in Marawi City and nearby towns, thousands more in North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur and elsewhere are now in evacuation centers after AFP aerial bombardment targeting their communities and farms.”
“The conditions under Duterte’s all-out war compel the NPA to carry-out counter-actions to defend itself and the people. It needs to launch military actions in the widest possible area to dissipate the offensives of the AFP and blunt its attacks against the people,” it said.
On the other hand, the CPP said it still looked forward to peace negotiations.
“The revolutionary forces continue to regard peace negotiations as an opportunity to resolve through dialogue the fundamental socio-economic issues at the root of the armed conflict, even as the people are compelled to wage ever greater resistance against the oppression, exploitation and armed suppression by the reactionary state,” it said. /atm
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