Reds violate own ceasefire, harass community in AgNor
CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City, April 15 – The Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) has violated their own unilateral ceasefire, as they extort the villagers in Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte and attacked the community security patrol of the 29th Infantry “Matatag” Battalion of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division, Philippine Army who were responding to the reports of security threats in said community around 11:20 a.m. on Monday, April 13.
The initial clash between the two forces ensued for about five minutes. At about 11:35 a.m. of the same day, a 15 minutes encounter between government forces and more or less 18 CNTs believed to be members of Samahang Yunit Pampropaganda-16A (SYP16A), Guerilla Front-16 (GF16), North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) under Samuel Batikan a.k.a. “Albren” who were extorting the community in Barangay Cuyago, Jabonga, Agusan del Norte resulted IN the recovery of four (4) rolls of detonating cords (250mtrs each), three (3) magazines for AK-47 with 30 serviceable ammunitions, and assorted empty shells for AK-47 and M-16 rifles. The CNTs suffered heavy losses as evidenced by the bloodstains in the encounter site and withdrawal route while negative casualties on the government forces.
The government has declared a unilateral ceasefire from March 19 to April 15, 2020 and directed its security forces to focus its efforts and resources against the COVID-19 pandemic. The 4ID has suspended all military operations (FMO) within its area of responsibility – Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions. However, this does not imply that the diamond troopers will neglect its mandate in securing the community being threatened by any armed group.
Similarly, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to observe a unilateral ceasefire from March 26 to April 15, 2020 while the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic. This unilateral ceasefire declaration of the CNT is just for a show. The NPAs are known for their sham on previous ceasefires with the government forces. Again, today’s encounter reflects the insincerity of the NPAs in their own unilateral ceasefire and deliberately fired upon the security forces who are responding to the extortion activities in the community.
It can be recalled, immediately after the government forces declared its unilateral ceasefire in order to focus its’ efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, the CNTs brutally and inhumanely murdered two elderly and unarmed indigenous people (IP) in Sitio Inadan, Barangay Magroyong, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur around 7 p.m. of March 19, 2020. Ka Sandara Sidlakan of GF30 NEMRC owned up to the murder during an interview with a local radio station in Surigao del Sur and in Butuan City.
MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, the Commander of 4ID, said, “We will always perform our mandate to protect the people even when we are focused in our efforts to mitigate the impacts of this COVID-19 pandemic. I commend the people of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte for standing up against this “communist virus” plaguing our community and for seeking the assistance of your soldiers to end their (NPAs) abuse and threats.”
“We urge everyone to remain vigilant against the treacherous actions of the CNTs. Despite the call for solidarity in addressing a common enemy, COVID-19, the CNTs remain a threat to our communities. Support your government to put an end to the more than 5-decade long senseless killings and heinous crimes of the CNTs against humanity,” Gacal ended. (4ID)