THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of violating the unilateral ceasefire the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared recently when the rebels attacked soldiers doing community service in Surigao del Sur on Wednesday.
Col. Oel Detoyato, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said the assault happened around 9:30 a.m., when the NPA, reportedly under Brando Juagpao alias “Rodel,” fired at Army troops stationed at the outskirt of Barangay Bitaugan, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.
The attack, according to the AFP, happened just several hours after the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) took effect. The ceasefire took effect midnight of December 23 and will end midnight of January 3, 2016.
Reports reaching the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City (Metro Manila) said the Army troops belonging to the 2nd Special Forces Battalion were assisting officials of the municipality of San Miguel in its delivery of development programs and services in the community when the rebels opened fire at them.
“Our troops managed to repel the attack and forced the NPA to disengage. Troops immediately pursued the NPA. Another firefight ensued near the boundary of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur a few hours later, also with a group of NPAs,” said Detoyato.
Similarly, on Tuesday, suspected NPA members, ambushed a military vehicle used in relief operations for victims of Typhoon Nona, killing one soldier and wounding two others in Northern Samar.
This incident is an undeniable proof that the NPAs, despite the declaration of ceasefire by the CPP, will continuously and deliberately conduct harassment and atrocities against our troops who are only doing their job to protect the people and secure a peaceful environment for them to live in. It is also proof that the NPA is insincere with their wish for peace for the Filipino this Yuletide season,” he added.
Despite the attack, Detoyato said the AFP would continue to abide the suspension of military operation (SOMO) declared by President Benigno Aquino 3rd against the NPA until January 3.