OFFICE of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said Tuesday they were disturbed by the recent attacks by the communists in Caraga and Davao despite a standing ceasefire.
“We are distressed and extremely disturbed by the recent series of attacks and harassments by alleged New People’s Army elements in various areas nationwide,” Dureza said in a statement.
In Cagayan de Oro City, an official said communist guerrillas in Caraga and Northern Mindanao launched coordinated attacked and harassed government troops who were undertaking relief operations to help flood victims.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesman of the 4th Infantry Division, said communist guerrillas lobbed two hand grenades at the troops in Concepcion village in Valencia City, Bukidnon.
“The grenades landed a few meters from the evacuation center but did not explode,” Martinez said.
“Those could have caused casualties and added to the misery of the civilian flood victims.”
Dureza said the ceasefire was precisely set in place to provide an enabling environment for the ongoing peace talks.
“We do not wish to unnecessarily squander those gains that even saw President [Rodrigo] Duterte exercising strong political will to move the peace process forward,” Dureza said.
“Either some in the National Democratic Front leadership talking to the government are not in full control of their own forces on the ground or they are themselves undermining these efforts for sustainable peace.
“The President will definitely walk the extra mile for peace, but our counterparts on the other side of the peace table must reciprocate.”
The Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command has alerted all its units after a series of attacks, abduction and killings in CARAGA and Davao despite the ceasefire.
Lt. General Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he had ordered all units to be on the alert against further communist attacks.
“In the meantime, we will continue to abide by our own ceasefire declaration and observe the suspension of offensive military operations,” Guerrero said.
Armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army fired at the soldiers in Mat-i, Surigao City, at midnight of Jan. 30 and wounded three of them.
Shortly after, three more attacks took place in San Isidro, Mahayahay and Hinambangan in Agusan del Norte.
“Let us condemn these atrocities that target our soldiers who are performing non-combat missions,” Guerrero said.
“These tactical offensives by the NPA are inconsistent with their ceasefire declaration and could imperil the ongoing peace negotiations.”