During the 10-day period between the formal notice of lifting of the CPP-NPA unilateral interim ceasefire last February 1 and its subsequent effective termination on February 10, NPA units launched preemptive strikes against enemy combat troops operating in the provinces of North Cotabato, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.Red fighters around Southern Mindanao have successfully defended base areas and guerilla zones around the region in a series of active defense actions in the onset of the militarist all-out war of the AFP. In these AFP-initiated aggressive incursions in Red territories, NPA units were able to inflict 14 casualties against the enemy.
On February 1, Red fighters successfully deflected the 4-column assault of the 67IB in Brgy. Lambog, Manay, Davao Oriental, killing 2Lt. Victor Alejo and wounding Pfc Diokno Sumatin. On February 6, operating troops of the 71IB were hit in Brgy. New Cortez, New Corella, Davao del Norte, resulting in the death of one enemy and the wounding of 7 others. Edwin Hijara, a CAFGU member of the 39IB meanwhile was killed in Brgy. Balite, Magpet in North Cotabato while conducting intelligence work as his troops were in combat operation.
Reinforcement troops of the 67IB were again hit by command-detonated explosives in Brgy. San Jose, Caraga, Davao Oriental on February 9. That same day, four troopers of the 60IB conducting combat operations were severely wounded when hit by an attritive action launched by Red fighters in the hinterlands of Brgy. Langtud, Laak, Compostela Valley.
The so-called all-out war is nothing new for the NPA and the revolutionary masses in the region; as even during the GRP’s supposed ceasefire, AFP troops have not let-up their offensive operations in the countryside. But with both ceasefires presently lifted, the AFP knows that its aggressive forward deployment of troops can no longer conveniently hide behind the pretext of civil-military activities or anti-criminality operations.
This early, the all-out war against the NPA forcibly ordered by the hawkish generals of the AFP is taking its toll on their foot soldiers in the Southern Mindanao. On February 11, the frantic full-scale operation of 60IB in Brgy, Bullocan in Laak figured in an hour-long misencounter where enemy troops fired at and severely wounded each other and hitting another civilian.
Meantime, AFP and PNP troops in Southern Mindanao have gone berserk in their fascist attempts to supposedly “hit hard” the region’s NPA units, all the while victimizing civilians and activists in their wake. Already, in the same period when the NPA deflected attacks in the countryside, the Duterte government’s armed forces have managed to summarily kill four civilians: two farmers in Manay, one activist in Davao City and a purok chairman in Tagum City. They have wounded several others as collateral damage.
The fascist enemy also trampled upon the JASIG and CARHRIHL in arresting NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario and his two companions while threatening to arrest the other consultants. In the thoroughfares of Davao City, it has launched psywar and red-tagging that essentially render civilian activists and legal progressive organizations as open targets of the all-out war.
All told, the all-out war and all its attendant human rights violations mock the AFP and the PNP’s grandstanding of advocating peace. The NPA in the region, meanwhile, having gone through the brunt of the monumental failure Oplan Bayanihan, is ready to defend the masses and the victories of the people’s war in the face of the Duterte government’s all-out war under the current Oplan Kapayapaan.
RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ
Regional Operations Command