Communist rebels accuse military of violating unilateral ceasefire

THE communists’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), accused the Philippine Army of violating the government’s unilateral ceasefire declaration during the holiday season.

In a statement, the Efren Martires Command said the Army has continued its military operations in Samar within the declared ceasefire period from December 16, 2011 to January 2, 2012.

“As reported by the NPA’s Arnulfo Ortiz command, the 8th Infantry Division (ID) troops launched several military operations within the Aquino government ceasefire period. These repeated violations show the untrustworthiness of the Aquino government and its military, whose ceasefires turn out to be nothing but gimmicks to camouflage offensive operations,” the NPA, in an e-mailed statement, said.

The NPA noted the ceasefire violations on December 16 and 17, where two columns of troops under the 14th Infantry Battalion (IB) went on military operations in San Jorge, Samar. The first troop reportedly went to Barangay Matalud and the second went to Baragay Lincoro.

The rebels said on December 23-24, a platoon of 24 soldiers also from 14th IB went to Barangay Buenavista and Barangay Lincoro, also in San Jorge town. They were said to have mingled with civilians and slept in the barangay hall and houses of the civilians. The following day, the military reportedly proceeded to Barangay Matalud and Barangay Gayondato.

On December 30 to January 1, the NPA alleged that 40 elements of 14th IB went in combat operations in Barangay Lincoro towards Barangay Cabugao and later in Barangay Matalud.

The NPA said the 8th ID troops not only were oblivious to the Aquino government’s ceasefire, but also violated international humanitarian law.

“They also slept in the houses of civilians and in the village hall. These incidents show the continuing climate of impunity under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and the difficulty of holding the military to account for violating the laws of war. The people and the revolutionary movement should never let their guard down but be vigilant against these snakes in the grass,” the NPA said.

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