The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it has resumed operations against communist terrorists pending President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of a new ceasefire amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The ceasefire lapsed automatically at 23:59 of 15 April 2020. Unless the President and Commander-in-Chief announces a new period of ceasefire, the AFP’s offensive combat operations have resumed effective 0000 of 16 April 2020,” military spokesperson Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement to reporters.
He was referring to the unilateral ceasefire declared by Duterte from March 19 to April 15 as part of government efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) reciprocated by declaring a similar truce effective March 26 to April 15.
However, despite their ceasefire declaration, the communist rebels reportedly continued with their attacks on civilian and military targets showing their opportunistic and oppressive nature.
“During the ceasefire that they also declared, we have seen once more how these opportunists communist terrorist NPA proved to be the oppressors of the masses contrary to what it proclaims itself to be,” Arevalo said.
Ceasefire violations committed by the CPP-NPA has numbered to 17 and is now different from past communist rebel truce declarations.
“We have listed down a total of 17 CTG (Communist Terrorist Group) violations during the period of their own ceasefire declaration. This record is no different from various other accounts of CTG ceasefire violations in the past that only confirms their recidivist behavior every time there is a truce,” Arevalo said.
He also scored communist terrorists for coming up with another propaganda gambit by declaring an extension of their ceasefire last Thursday as part of their efforts to trick and deceive the public.
“But they can no longer pull such a trickery. They can no longer fool the people as to their real evil intentions,” Arevalo said.
This is because the AFP has been made wise by the records and experiences they had of ceasefires where they had to defend Filipino civilians and their troops from vicious and treacherous attacks by these terrorists.
“The only thing that this CPP-NPA were faithful and consistent with is how they view ceasefires as opportunities to create instability and overthrow the government. As Luis Jalandoni said, ‘We (CPP-NPA-NDF) see that peace negotiations are another form of legal struggle … in order to advance the revolutionary armed struggle,” Arevalo said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“By attacking our troops who are assisting LGUs (local government units) that go down to community level in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly virus; by robbing the people of relief goods they received from government; by harassing community leaders to prevent them from performing their mandates, among other NPA’s detestable acts, they mean to discredit government and incite the people into violating community quarantine imposed so that in the end government shall fail in this fight against this pandemic,” he added.
Despite these atrocities, Arevalo said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had the gall to file a complaint of alleged “AFP violations” before the United Nations.
He added that such actions by the communist rebels and their allies are nothing but “cheap propaganda and fakery.”
“We belie their preposterous claims. We will expose their propaganda. We will stop CTG attacks to protect the well-being and promote the welfare of our people especially in the communities,” Arevalo said.
He added that the AFP will not allow the CPP-NPA to prevent concerted efforts of the government and the people aimed at containing the Covid-19 threat.