MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army is accusing the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) — of violating the ceasefire agreement following reported attacks on government troops this week.
Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay called the attacks “senseless” and slammed its timing when the nation is celebrating the holiday season.
The Philippine government and the CPP declared a ceasefire beginning midnight on December 23, 2019 until January 7, 2020 as part of the possible resumption of the stalled peace talks between the two parties.
“We are one with the government and the people’s desire to a just and lasting peace in the entire country. In light of this development, other means of peaceful resolution such as localized peace talks need to be considered,” Gapay said in a statement
“We just hope that the CPP-NPA will not miss this opportunity by staging these senseless attacks, especially during a time when the nation celebrates the season of love, peace and unity,” he added.
The Army chief said separate attacks believed to have been perpetrated by the NPA were launched in Camarines Norte and in Iloilo just after the declaration of holiday ceasefire.
He said troops belonging to the 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company in Labo, Camarines Norte were on their way back to their base in observance of the Suspension of Military Operations when they were ambushed.
Minutes later, a police patrol vehicle was attacked using improvised explosive device in Tubungan, Iloilo.
The attacks left one soldier dead, and eight other security forces injured.
The CPP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines earlier insisted they have not violated the ceasefire deal, and assured to check the veracity of the reports on the supposed ceasefire violations.