With the many developments in the country in the run up to the Christmas season, we must endorse the need to have peace for everyone as we welcome before too long the year 2023.
This week we heard the 170,000-strong Philippine National Police as saying the command was “not inclined” to recommend a Suspension On Police Operations against communist insurgents this Yuletide.
It followed the death in The Netherlands on Friday of the 83-year-old Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and the demise of six soldiers of the Army 20th Infantry Battalion in a landmine attack by the New People’s Army in Barangay Quirino, Las Navas, Northern Samar last Sunday.
The communist guerrillas detonated booby traps in an area where the soldiers were securing a water system project.
Timing of the attack appears intended to draw attention to the founding anniversary of the CPP on December 26, and a statement from the central Committee of the CPP, NPA and the National Democratic Front that it ill not declare a ceasefire to mark Christmastime.
It added that while the local communists join the Filipino people in solidarity with their holidays and in marking the 54th anniversary of the rebel party, “the NPA is authorized to launch tactical offensives against the fascist enemy of the people.”
As PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said, the latest hostility launched by the CPP-NPA “only describes the insincerity, wanton disregard for human lives and International Humanitarian Law by the local communist terrorist movement, further aggravated by the use of internationally outlawed anti-personnel landmines to inflict injury to persons.”
Azurin said Sison, put on a US terrorist list in 2002, who had been living in self-exile for 15 years, stood accused in 17 criminal cases, nine cases of rebellion, seven cases of murder, and one case for Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.
“Although Sison’s death extinguishes his criminal liability under Philippine laws, all other accused in the same cases shall continue to undergo prosecution under the Philippine criminal justice system,” he said.
Azurin added: “The darkest secrets of the CPP-NPA reign of terror that he has held all along will be buried with him to his grave, but his hands remain stained with the blood of over thousands of Filipinos who died in communist insurgency-related incidents since 1969.”
We find Azurin’s appeal to the remaining insurgents – about 2,000 armed, by military count, down from 25,000 at their peak — to surrender to the government up-to-the-minute.
“The olive branch of peace and reconciliation offered by the government is still the best option and should be accepted by the remaining CPP-NPA members especially now that they are leaderless and as their ideology become more obsolete in the modern times,” he said.
We look down on activities that sow fear in our countrymen who have on their minds this season and in others unanimity in spirit for peace in their families, their communities and their homeland.
We wish for nothing less.