DAVAO CITY — The Communist Party of the Philippines demanded that President Rodrigo Duterte must end the military’s Oplan Bayanihan as the group marked the 100th day of the effectivity of the unilateral declaration for an interim ceasefire issued last Aug. 26 by the CPP Central Committee.

“The CPP is utterly dismayed at the failure of GRP President Rodrigo Duterte to rein in the war dogs of the AFP, ” the CPP said.

It added, “that the order made by Duterte last August as commander-in-chief to the AFP to ‘be friendly with the revolutionary government’ and with the CPP-NPA is an empty one considering that not a single area command of the AFP respected nor implemented this policy. On the contrary, the AFP continues to regard the CPP-NPA with extreme hostility.”

CPP noted that military troops have been strategically deployed across the country as “preparations for an offensive in a vain attempt to crush the NPA and the wide and deep support it enjoys among the peasant masses.”

In the Southern Mindanao Region, CPP said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has recalled two battalions earlier deployed to the Sulu province and added two more.

In North Central Mindanao Region, the AFP’s 4th Infantry Division deployed five battalions to cover 78 barangays in Butuan, Gingoog, Malaybalay and Valencia and the provinces of Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon.  In Northeast Mindanao, Army soldiers and police combatants have occupied 86 barangays in 22 municipalities.

“The continuing Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency operations undermine the reciprocal unilateral ceasefire declarations. By deploying fully-armed units to the very heart of the NPA guerrilla zones and guerrilla bases, the AFP leadership wants its units to engage the NPA in armed skirmishes to force the ceasefire to an end. They know fully well that the NPA can only evade and counter-maneuver so much,” the CPP said.

The communist group further maintained that the AFP has continuously “deployed armed units and maintained armed presence in centers of civilian communities in violation of the CARHRIHL and international protocols which protect the welfare of civilians in times of war.”

According to CPP, at least 470 barangays have been affected by Oplan Bayanihan’s armed operations since August 26 and is expected to reach more than 800.

“In the face of the AFP’s continuing Oplan Bayanihan armed hostile operations, the CPP and NPA have exhibited flexibility in order to sustain the ceasefire declarations. However, there can only be limited tolerance for continuing armed hostilities by the AFP. GRP President Duterte must listen to the outcry to put an end to the GRP’s Oplan Bayanihan,” the CPP said. (davaotoday.com)

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