TACLOBAN CITY-The Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas belittled the Philippine communist rebels’ five-year plan to step up their insurgency and move closer to their goal of establishing a Marxist state.
Maj. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan, Samar said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) has only been spreading propaganda just to better themselves in the eyes of the people.
The CCP, which marked its 40th anniversary released a statement on Friday outlining the strategy, which includes confronting government and military officials “perpetrating treason, plunder and human rights violations.”
The party said officials guilty of those crimes are subject to arrest or battle by guerrilla fighters and close relatives and friends of officials who benefits from the offenses will be treated as accomplice.
But Maj. Gen. Tabaquero earlier belied reports that the Army has committed human rights violations.
Tabaquero said that is the claim of the NPA and added that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the region noted that NPA have committed human rights violations against the people.
Tabaquero was referring to a report of the CHR that of the 95 cases filed before the said office, only 30 of them named were Army soldiers as respondents and the rest were against NPA leaders and members.
Tabaquero added that soldiers in the region have been directed to always respect and uphold the rights of all civilians.
As this developed, security forces were on heightened alert since Friday, December 26 for any guerrilla attacks during the anniversary.
The NPA, the party’s armed wing, has been fighting against the government since 1969 in what has become one of Asia ‘s longest-running insurgencies.
The party said its army must work harder to destroy government forces and facilities. It also needs to dismantle “land grabbing operations” of agriculture and mining companies that destroy the environment and waste land that could be used for farming in rural communities.
The party added in its statement that the overriding objective of the plan must be to increase the strength of the revolutionary forces and approach the goal of destroying the ruling system and replace it with the people’s democratic state. .
But the rebels announced last week they would observe a holiday ceasefire from Dec. 24-26 and again from Dec. 31-Jan. 1. The government called a ceasefire for the same dates, with the exception of Friday for fear the rebels would stage an attack to mark the party’s anniversary.
Peace talks between the two sides were suspended in 2004 after the rebels accused the government of instigating the inclusion of the CPP and the NPA on the US list of terrorist organizations.
In an informal meeting brokered by Norway in Oslo early this month, rebel negotiators rejected an indefinite ceasefire pushed by the government as a condition for resuming formal talks. No new meetings have been scheduled.