AFP spins worn-out storyline to cover up new ceasefire violation, civilian deaths in Manay firefight

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New People’s Army
Regional Operations Command
Southern Mindanao Region

Press Statement
February 2, 2017

Red fighters belonging to the Comval–Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Command of the New People’s Army have successfully fended off another offensive attack mounted by the scout platoon of the 67th Infantry Battalion-AFP in Brgy. Lambog, Manay in Davao Oriental at around 12:30 noon yesterday, February 1. The fascist AFP troops meanwhile killed two farmers from nearby Brgy. Del Pilar in the aftermath of their failed attempt to inflict damage against the NPA unit.

To conceal their own ceasefire violation, the spin doctors of the AFP concocted yet another storyline of an “anti-criminality operation to assist the PNP in going after lawless elements.” Like their botched combat operations in Makilala and Matalam, North Cotabato which resulted in armed encounters with Red fighters last week, the AFP is hoping that the media will play along to being fed with outright lies.

At around 7:00 in the evening on January 31, troops belonging to 67th IB-AFP were already deployed for combat operation in the villages of Kayawan, del Pilar and Kapasnan in the hinterlands of Manay town. The next day, February 1, the AFP troops interrogated several masses in the community on the whereabouts of the Red fighters.

At midday, while maneuvering to evade the enemy’s four-column combat operation, the NPA unit was fired upon by the scout platoon of the 67IB. Immediately, Red fighters maneuvered to retake the initiative and engage the enemy. Killed in the encounter was 2Lt. Victor Alejo, while another enemy troop was severely wounded. As the Red fighters safely withdrew from the clash site, the 67th IB soldiers waylaid two civilians in their frenzied shoot-out after the firefight.

This latest armed skirmish, whose storyline bears resemblance to the Makilala and Matalam incidents, clearly exposes the duplicitous scheme of the AFP: conduct civic-military operations and combat operations, ensure engagement with the NPA and feign indignation over the incident. It must be noted that only in these last few weeks did the series of armed encounters break out between Red fighters and AFP and PNP troops as the CPP-NPA ceasefire order had become increasingly untenable in the face of the latter’s sustained offensive operations.

As enemy troops encroach in Red territories they previously found difficult to penetrate, firefight with NPA units have become perilously inevitable especially with AFP troops hell-bent at engaging even the evading Red fighters.

At present, there are peasants and Lumad families who were forced to evacuate as troops of the 67th IB have already encamped in the barangays of Lambog, Kapasnan and Rizal. We call on all revolutionary forces and peace advocates to extend assistance to these civilians and ascertain the truth about the AFP’s preposterous claims regarding the incident.

We also challenge the Duterte government and his peace panel to seriously investigate the incidents in Makilala and Matalam in North Cotabato and Manay in Davao Oriental. Evidently, it is they and not the CPP and the NDF who have no control over their armed forces.

For the peasants and Lumads who continue to be victimized more so now with Oplan Kapayapaan, the termination of the CPP and the NPA’s unilateral interim ceasefire is an assurance of revolutionary justice against the AFP and the PNP’s fascism and for the Duterte government to comply with its peace obligations and take the negotiations seriously.

(sgd.) RIGOBERTO F. SANCHEZ

Spokesperson

Regional Operations Command

NPA-Southern Mindanao

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