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NPA strikes first

Hours before the suspension of the fifth round of peace talks, two militiamen were wounded following an ambush perpetrated by the communist rebels at Sitio Intavas, Barangay La Fortuna, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on Saturday around 7:30 a.m.

Supt. Lemuel Gonda, spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) 10, said troops of 1st Special Forces Battalion composed of eight cafgus and two enlisted personnel, led by Pfc Ruben B. Gomez, were going to Kitanglad relay station when they were landmined by rebels.

Accordingly, the troops were able to return fire after an explosion followed by gunfire, which lasted for 30 minutes before the rebels withdrew.

Gonda said the troops encountered about 40 members of Guerilla Front 68 of the NPA.

The two wounded CAAs were identified as Peter Nunez and Arcenio Macalam.

In a separate interview, Capt. Felecor Jumagdao, the civil-military operations officer of the 1st Special Forces Battalion, told TIMES that the wounded CAAs were brought to Camp Evangelista hospital in Cagayan de Oro city for further medical treatment.

On May 25, NPA Southern Command spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez ordered the communist guerrillas to intensify their operations against military and police targets in response to President Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao.

"Duterte attempts to consolidate his power, not by siding with the interest of the masses," Sanchez said. "But by fulfilling the wishes of military generals to resurrect full-blown martial power over the civilian bureaucracy."

Red fighters shall defend the masses in the offensive mode by launching tactical offensives against legitimate military targets," he added. "All NPA units shall pre-empt abuses by military and police officers by imposing arrests and checkpoints against these Martial Law implementers."

Earlier, National Democratic Front founder Joma Sison urged the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines to refrain from attacking government forces deep in battle against the Maute group.

On May 27, Sec. Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process said the government has withdrawn from the fifth round of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines.

Among the reasons cited are:

- The noticeable upscale of incidents of offensive attacks by the NPAs throughout the country;

- The seeming perception of the bigger public that these NPA operations are in open and public defiance of president duterte who has consistently accommodated them in unprecedented ways;

- The renewed surfacing of public apprehension questioning the sincerity of the CPP/NPA/NDF in the peace talks;

- The public admissions of some panel members of the CPP/NPA NDF leaders that they have no control over their forces on the ground;

- The sudden and perceptible erosion of public support to the peace talks with strong messages received from the public to altogether stop peace negotiations;

- The clamor now to pursue instead localized peace talks;

- The latest and recent president's public statements that he will no longer sign agreements with the CPP/NPA/NDF

AFP on offensive

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also ordered the troop to launch offensives against the communist guerrillas following the ambush.

"Its unfortunate that the CPP- NPA took advantage of the crisis that is ongoing in Marawi city by ordering the NPA to intensify their attacks against AFP and PNP," Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), told TIMES yesterday.

Año said the CPP-NPA only showed its true colors with the order.

"We shall deal with them with more force and ensure that the community are protected from NPA atrocities and terroristic activities," he said.

The chief of staff also said he already directed all military units to be alert and intensify their intelligence monitoring in their areas of responsibility.

[Source: By Rhoda Grace Saron, Mindanao Times, Mindanao, 29May17]

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Peace Negotiations in the Philippines
small logoThis document has been published on 30May17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.