NPA’s one-sided ceasefire in Caraga a ‘trick’, meant to ‘deceive’ forces –Lorenzana
The recent unilateral ceasefire declaration of the New People’s Army (NPA) for the Holy Week was an apparent “trick” to resume peace negotiations, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday.
“The purported declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by the CPP -NPA [Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA] for the observance of Lenten season is obviously a trick to convince the government to resume the peace talks, but its purpose is actually to deceive our ground forces,” he said in a statement.
The NPA in Caraga region earlier declared a temporary suspension on its tactical offensives starting Holy Wednesday until Easter Sunday. It also coincides with the NPA’s 49th founding anniversary on Maundy Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks in November 2017 following the supposed attacks of communist rebels on government forces and civilians. He later declared the CPP-NPA a terrorist organization.
Lorenzana said those 49 years of existence of “communists terrorists” were “futile, delusional, and vicious…that is a bane to our country’s peace, security and national development.”
“Ang dapat nating itanong sa mga NPA ay ano nga ba ang ipinagdiriwang niyo tuwing anibersaryo nyo? Wala naman kayong mapakitang magandang nagawa, bagkus wala kayong ginawa kundi pumatay, mangotong sa mga negosyante, at manunog ng mga ari-arian ng mga ayaw magbayad sa inyo. Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit hindi tayo umuunlad,” he said.
“What makes you think that you can succeed even in the next 50 years given your dwindling number, degraded capability and lack of people’s support?” he added.
The military estimates that there are still less than 4,000 armed-fighters of the NPA nationwide.
Lorenzana also asked the public “to be more vigilant and proactive” over possible attacks and atrocities as the communist rebels mark their anniversary.
He once again called on the communists to lay down their arms and return to the government fold.
“Do not continue to be blinded by the propaganda of your selfish leaders who live in luxury, away in a foreign land, with their families, and loved ones by their side, at your expense and at our people’s expense, especially those from vulnerable communities,” Lorenzana said. /kga
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