By BicolToday.com News Team
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – An impatient President Rodrigo Duterte lifted at seven o’clock Saturday evening the unilateral ceasefire he declared during his first State of the Nation Address last July 25 against the New People’s Army (NPA).
President Duterte’s ceasefire lift order has paved for the volatile situation of renewed fighting between the AFP and NPA on pre-SONA level, online news BicolToday.com learned Saturday night.
Jose Maria Sison branded Duterte as “butangero”, “volatile” upon learning of Duterte backtracking from his ceasefire order on a “lame excuse” about the Wednesday NPA ambush on an AFP-Cafgu patrol in Kapalong, Davao del Norte.
NPA Mindanao considered it a “dud” ceasefire, “mocked” by the AFP in Mindanao.
Jose Maria Sison reacts, Duterte “volatile”
Jose Maria Sison, exiled Communist leader, reacted that Duterte is “volatile”, one who cannot be counted for long-term commitment but good for only days, hours, and lacks “prudence in something as sensitive and delicate as peace negotiations between two armed fighting sides.”
“Duterte has no right to order the NPA and the revolutionary movement and he did not consult the members of the GRP peace panel in lifting up the ceasefire,” said Sison, describing Duterte as “butangero”, a bully and one who prefers conflict rather than peace.
AFP “mocks” Duterte ceasefire, a “dud”
“There has been never an actual ceasefire on the AFP side, as AFP with combined paramilitary troops continued their military operations in the five days Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire was supposed to take effect”, the NPA Southern Mindanao Command said in its latest statement.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez, NPA spokesperson of Southern Mindanao regional command, said Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire was “mocked” by AFP troops in Southern Mindanao region during the 5-day ceasefire.
“In North Cotabato, the 39IB-AFP recently identified 13 barrios in Kidapawan City to be placed under Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) to purge them of “communist-influence” while its troops are currently in clearing operations in Magpet town. On July 27, platoons of the 84thIB were deployed in far-flung communities of Toril, Davao City. In Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, troops of the 2nd Scout Rangers Battalion conducted combat operations on July 29,” the NPA Southern Mindanao said in the statement.
It continued: “The July 27 engagement of Red fighters against members of CAFGU of 72nd IB and the paramilitary Alamara in Kapalong, Davao del Norte only highlighted the unrelenting military operations of AFP troops.”
“Worse still, the fabricated lies they spin to their Commander-in-Chief (Duterte) and the media to smokescreen their palpable violation demonstrate their outright disdain for the peace process,” Sanchez said.
Wedding strafed by AFP-paramilitary men
Alternative media outfit Kilab Multimedia reported Saturday that elements of the 8th IB of the Philippine Army and the paramilitary group, New Indigenous People’s Army, strafed an ongoing wedding celebration in Sitio Alimpulos, Barangay Cawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
According to Kilab, a resident was killed while seven were injured, including five minors, and one hundred fifty families have since fled Alimpulos.
Ceasefire lift order
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza made the announcement an hour before the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was supposed to declare its own unilateral ceasefire order on Saturday night at 8:00 pm.
In lifting his ceasefire order, Duterte also placed all government security forces on high alert.
“I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land,” Dureza’s statement said.
Duterte also ordered the AFP and PNP to withdraw their ceasefire operational guidelines.
Yesterday, Duterte gave the CPP until five o’clock Saturday afternoon to declare its own unilateral ceasefire order.
A day earlier, CPP founder Sison said Duterte should not rush them into declaring their own ceasefire as they still have to study how the AFP and the PNP would implement them.
Cafgu ambush incident as “justification”
Disagreement between Duterte and the CPP started when NPA guerrillas ambushed a composite Philippine Army, CAFGU and Alamara paramilitary group in Kapalong, Davao del Norte last Wednesday that killed one and injured four others.
NPA spokesperson Aris Francisco of NPA ComVal Mindanao-Agusan subregional command said the Wednesday ambush was in self-defense. (Read related news – AFP Twisted Report . .)
Duterte, as urged by AFP advisers, used the Kapalong ambush as justification in lifting up the ceasefire order, even if the NPA had explained its side over the ambush. [BicolToday.com]