Camp Aguinaldo,Quezon City — The Armed Forces of the Philippines strongly condemns the New People’s Army for their recent atrocities in killing six (6) of our soldiers who came from peace and development projects that benefitted the communities.
These acts are not only violations of their own ceasefire declaration, that is still in effect, it is an utter disregard to International Humanitarian Law when they used excessive force on the bodies of three soldiers they earlier abducted.
The NPA perpetrated acts that are completely unnecessary to the already fallen soldiers.
It also shows their clear disregard of the newly forged guidelines for the full implementation of the Joint Monitoring Committee under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by the CPP-NDF leadership in Rome last month.
Even before they announced the withdrawal of their ceasefire, they already conducted a series of atrocities against government forces beginning last Sunday.
Based from reports from the ground, the NPAs have conducted 18 attacks since January 15 this year.
The most heinous of which was the killing of three (3) soldiers of the 8th Infantry Battalion in Bukidnon. These soldiers were in civilian uniform and just came from non-combat activity when they were mercilessly fired upon by the NPA and they admitted having fired the first shot. The victims received up to 27 gunshot wounds each on one body according to the report of PNP SOCO and our own medical investigation.
They have also abducted three (3) soldiers in separate incidents in Surigao Del Norte and Sultan Kudarat.
We hereby demand the immediate release of PFC Salan abducted January 29, and two other soldiers abducted February 2.
The AFP regrets that the NPA has withdrawn its ceasefire declaration. The ceasefire has been an effective manifestation of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s commitment to the peace talks and has so far given peace to the communities where they continue to operate.
Nonetheless, their withdrawal showed their insincerity and bared their insatiable taste for violence.
For our part, our various units on the ground remain faithful to our own ceasefire declaration but are ready for any violent incidents that will arise from the NPAs withdrawal.
Rest assured that the Armed Forces, as the only legitimate military organization mandated to protect the people and the communities, will take proactive defensive measures to thwart attacks from all lawless armed groups.
We shall also continue to perform peace-building and development efforts where the people in conflict areas request us to.
We will continue to capacitate local government in order to fast-track delivery of basic goods and services to their constituents.
We will continue to safeguard communities from criminal acts of extortion, burning of vehicles, particularly construction implements that are used for the development of these areas, farm and livelihood implements and other forms of criminal and atrocious acts – whoever is the perpetrator.
And if ordered by the Commander-in-Chief, we will lift the SOMO. It is our beholden duty to protect our citizens.