As if part of the present political establishment, the New Peaople’s Army just got word from President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday it has to declare a truce or else.
Duterte on Friday gave the ultimatum that the rebels have until Saturday afternoon to declare a truce during his visit to the wake of a CAFGU militiaman slain in the encounter with the NPA in Barangay Gupitan of Kapalong town in Davao del Norte.
The members of the CAFGU Active Auxilliary (CAA) were on their way back to their camp in Kapalong on Wednesday morning when the encounter happened. One CAA member was killed while four others were wounded.
While at the 60th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Barangay Doña Andrea, Asuncion the president explained he is extending the deadline for the rebels to give its side on the attack upon the request of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison.
Duterte warned that if the NPA would not reciprocate the government’s ceasefire and not give a justifiable reason for the attack, he would have no other course but to retract the truce declaration.
Meanwhle, the the NPA’s Comval (Compostela Valley) North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command spokesperson Aris Francisco, said they just “thwarted a military offensive” in adherence to the directive by the NPA National Operations Command for Red fighters to maintain on alert status and on active defense mode in response to Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire.
In a press statement, Francisco said that the Civilian Auxilliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) of the 72nd Infantry Battalion and armed Alamara paramilitary troops have been on active operation in Kapalong, resulting in several engagements including its July 5 ambush that wounded one rebel.
“Determined to continue its offensive military operations in Kapalong, the same troops ignored the ceasefire declaration of their Commander in Chief and again took off for combat operation from their detachment in Barangay Patil on July 26,” Francisco said in the statement.
The NPA accused the AFP of deceiving their Commander-in-Chief by saying that the NPA violated the unilateral ceasefire when it waylaid the PDOP (Peace & Development Outreach Program) troops who were returning to their detachment in Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan.
The rebel group said that had they not taken the initiative to actively defend itself by intercepting the 72nd IB/Alamara troops, the operating AFP troops would have carried out its own combat action and inflicted damage against the NPA unit.
The NPA maintained that it will abide with the spirit of the resumption of the peace negotiations in addressing the roots of the civil war, respects the ceasefire order of President Duterte, and strictly adheres to the directive of the national leadership and the CPP.