Duterte slams Reds for attacks on troops
Duterte said he was saddened by the death of soldiers who were helping government agencies deliver relief assistance to communities, as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Presidential Photo/King Rodrigue
Duterte slams Reds for attacks on troops
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There will be a time of reckoning for the communist rebels who attacked government troops involved in the delivery of relief assistance to people affected by the enhanced community quarantine, President Duterte said on Monday night.

Duterte said he was saddened by the death of soldiers who were helping government agencies deliver relief assistance to communities, as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a sad thing to know that the soldiers were killed while doing the most honorable task of accompanying government workers delivering money and food,” the President said.

“I am so sad about this development but there will always be a time for reckoning.”

Duterte said the government would no longer hold peace talks with the communists, who have been waging an armed struggle against the government for five decades.?“There is no more peace talks to talk about. I am not and I will never be ready for any round of talks simply because the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has no respect either for their spoken words or in their deeds of killing soldiers who are on humanitarian missions,” the President said, referring to the New People’s Army.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the communists have failed to comply with the ceasefire they declared.?“We do not have an alternative. We have to stop the ceasefire because Joma Sison cannot implement what he says on the ground,” Roque said, referring to CPP founder Jose Maria Sison.

“Our enemies do not honor their word. So unfortunately, there is no ceasefire,” he added.

Duterte declared a ceasefire with the rebels from March 19 to April 15, to allow government forces to implement quarantine protocols intended to contain the coronavirus.?The CPP declared its own ceasefire, which started on March 26. It extended the ceasefire until tomorrow after the government extended the Luzon-wide quarantine.

The government has not reciprocated the ceasefire extension. ?Roque earlier said the rebels should no longer expect the government to declare a ceasefire because of the NPA’s continual attacks against soldiers and policemen.

The communist group said it was not surprised by Duterte’s declaration that the government would no longer pursue the peace talks.

Marco Valbuena, information officer of the CPP, chided the “all out war” policy being implemented by the administration since 2017, noting it refused to use the military’s modernization budget to buy food for the people.

“Duterte wasted an opportunity to unite the country under a broad humanitarian front to confront the COVID-19 pandemic,” Valbuena said. – Alexis Romero, Artemio Dumlao, Ding Cervantes

He said the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the CPP, made it clear from the start that it was ready to talk and work together against the public health crisis.

Valbuena said that in most cases, the security operations for relief distributions were false and that the troopers’ intention was to launch counterinsurgency.

Foiled

Philippine Air Force soldiers foiled an alleged attempt by suspected NPA guerrillas to snatch the cash assistance intended for Aeta residents in Barangay Sta. Juliana in Capas, Tarlac at dawn yesterday.

Mayor Rey Catacutan said the money, part of the social amelioration program for families affected by the enhanced community quarantine, was set for distribution today.  ?A village resident on Monday afternoon informed the Air Force’s 710th Special Operations Wing about the presence of 20 armed men in the area.

The soldiers responded and engaged the armed men in a firefight at around 4 a.m.

A soldier was wounded in the firefight, which lasted 10 minutes. – Artemio Dumlao, Ding Cervantes

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