The City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) is supporting Mayor Sara Duterte’s stance to exempt the city from the 15-day ceasefire with the communist rebels.
On Thursday afternoon, the Duterte-led CPOC pushed for the exemption of the city from the ceasefire and the Suspension of Military Operation (SOMO).
“When there is a SOMO, there is an increase of activities on the part of the NPA,” Duterte said. “They continue their recruitment and some other areas.
“Historically that is what we see on the data,” the mayor said.
Duterte said the passage of the resolution seeking exemption from peace negotiations is based on records showing violations by communist insurgents of the previous SOMO and ceasefires.
“There were incidents in Camarines Sur and Iloilo despite the declaration of SOMO we do not want the same incident to happen in the city,” she said.
1003rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Nolasco Mempin said the exemption is favorable to the city as significant results in combating insurgency in the countryside through Peace 911 has been disclosed.
Mempin said the mayor’s request for exemption is respected by the military forces.
“Based on the situation on the ground and the wisdom of our political leaders, we respect and agree on the stand of the mayor. We also recognized the need to keep the security forces safe from any possible attack of the rebel group,” he said.
On Dec. 23, Mayor Duterte requested to exclude the city for the holiday truce and any subsequent ceasefires with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The mayor said peace negotiations with the NDFP is not advisable.
“We respectfully cautioned the Duterte administration over its move to reopen the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” she said.
“While the declaration of Christmas truce and the prospects to reopen formal peace negotiations are acts of goodwill on the part of the Duterte government, demonstrating its strong political will to resolve the insurgency problem plaguing some parts of the country for the past years, we must be always reminded by the evil character and duplicitous nature of NDFP and its revolutionary organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA),” she added.
She also said that the ceasefire will only be taken advantage of “to regain communities previously cleared of their presence, consolidate their forces, and derail the progress of existing government rural development projects.” She also said that she wanted to exempt the local government once the formal peace negotiations will be reopened by the national government.
The mayor’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duturte ordered a unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels on Sunday, Dec. 22.
The ceasefire and SOMO is observed from Dec. 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020.
The NDF, in a statement, slammed Mayor Duterte to exclude the ity from the GRP’s ceasefire declaration and the peace negotiations with the NDFP.
“In parroting the militarist line of peace spoilers and extreme rightists of the ruling class of declaring the revolutionary movement as terrorists unfit to be faced in the negotiation table, she displays a bent to rule with impunity, to subjugate the people’s will under the auspices of the fascist AFP and their imperialist masters by negating peace negotiations,” NDF-Southern Mindanao Region Spokesperson Rubi del Mundo said.
“(She) wrongly blames the alleged failure of the GRP-NDFP talks to the ‘countless criminal acts and treachery’ of the revolutionary forces, specifically the NPA. Yet, it had been the AFP’s fascist forays into hinterland areas that violated GRP’s ceasefire declarations which forced NPA units to engage in self-defense,” the NPA official said.
Del Mundo said Duterte “is more concerned with cheerleading the militarization of Davao City by supporting the brutal operations and psywar tactics of the 16th Infantry Battalion, the 89th IB and the 3rd IB of the Philippine Army, the AFP’s intelligence operations, Task Force Davao and police forces.”
“This cabal is responsible for the countless extra-judicial killings, drug-related executions, disappearances and forced evacuations of farmers and Lumad under martial law. Her diatribe against talking with revolutionary forces shows her wayward intolerance to human rights and justice. She’s in fact happier to gag activists, kowtow to Chinese imperialist economic aggression, close Lumad schools and pamper the AFP,” the NPA said.
Del Mundo said Duterte, in her bid to remove the City from the GRP’s framework of peace talks and ceasefire, “attempts to make her local government immune to scrutiny from the mounting backlash among displaced drivers, aggrieved urban poor whose residences have been demolished and dislocated farmers and workers as a result of her accommodation of big ticket infrastructure, road and other projects funded by imperialist blood money.”
The NPA spokesperson said Duterte “harps on about the supposed ‘gains’ of Peace 911, Davao City’s so-called local initiative, that engages the masses under duress in “peace dialogues” but at the behest and under the guns of hundreds of fascist AFP soldiers.”
“Under the gloss of spurious programs such as the ‘Peace Economy,’ these ‘gains’ merely deodorize the horrid stories of harassments, psywar, forced and fake surrenders of civilians as NPA members and forced recruitment to CAFGU, Alamara and Bagani paramilitary forces. She seems to also be blissfully unaware of the fact that the three battalions she is coddling in Davao City are pocketing millions of public funds supposedly for salaries of CAFGU members or remuneration for mass fake surrenders,” the NPA official further said.
Del Mundo said the revolutionary forces in the Southern Mindanao “are one with the national leadership in supporting the resumption of the peace negotiations, as all NPA units around the region are committed to observing the CPP’s ceasefire order, a mark of an army that genuinely espouses peace and the people’s interests. Meanwhile, reports from the ground confirm that AFP troops continue to conduct combat operations despite their own ceasefire declaration.”
“While most politicians from the reactionary bureaucracy express support for the resumption of the formal negotiations, GRP Mayor Sara chooses to spew out a palpably contradictory opinion to the GRP president’s recent policy statement with regards to peace. One that clearly displays her charmed ruling class origin, bereft of the troubles of the working class, and enjoying the benefits of the semi-feudal and semi-colonial Philippine society,” del Mundo said.