Palace disturbed by recent NPA attacks in Mindanao » Manila Bulletin News

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang on Sunday said it is disturbed by the recent attacks being carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindanao despite their leaders’ pronouncement to refrain offensive operations in the island.

According to Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, the recent offensives allegedly committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) fueled the public’s doubts on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them.

“We are disturbed by the recent NPA attacks, considering that their leaders in Europe issued a statement condemning the incident in Marawi,” Abella said over Radyo ng Bayan.

Abella also noted how the NDF offered to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable the government troops to focus on the ongoing rebellion.

“These NPA attacks disrupt the conducive and enabling environment indispensable in peace making and peace building,” Abella said.

“In the meantime, we will await further validation of these recent incidents and will undertake corresponding and appropriate steps to deal decisively with the situation,” he added.

Last week, around 50 to 70 NPA rebels raided a municipal police station of Maasin in Iloilo, the same day the Philippine government (GRP) reciprocated NDF’s offer.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella
(Credits: Albert Alcain/ Presidential Photo / Manila Bulletin)

Although the raid was not in Mindanao, Abella said the attack was opportunistic and disregarded the nature of the NDF declaration.

“We ask the NDF to call on their armed comrades on the ground to walk the talk and to show genuine sincerity on the confidence-building measure initiated by the government and their side,” Abella said.

NPA Panay, however, in a statement, said they targeted Maasin Police Station because its personnel allegedly extorted from the local vendors and tolerated the proliferation of illegal drugs and gambling.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen Restituto Padilla earlier said the excuse of the NPA has been used for so many times already and that people should not buy it.

“Panis na ‘yung excuse na ‘yon. Huwag niyo nang pinapatulan (You should not buy that old excuse),” Padilla said during the same press briefing.

“They do this intentionally because their objective is to get more arms,” he added.

According to Padilla, the NPA attacked Maasin because many of the government troops went to help in the rebellion in Mindanao.

Presidential peace adviser Jess Dureza, in a statement, said the attack in Maasin should be dealt with accordingly as it did not take place in Mindanao and since there is yet no mutually agreed bilateral ceasefire agreement in place nationwide.

“The NPA attack in Maasin, Iloilo and elsewhere must be dealt with accordingly and decisively by the AFP and the PNP with the cooperation of civilian agencies and the affected communities,” Dureza said.

“The impact is not just on the peace negotiations, it illustrates the tragedy of the insurgency,” he added.

“Hopefully, the attack is just part of the birth pains of the agreement to stop offensive military actions, even if it covers only Mindanao as of now,” Dureza said.

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