MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday condemned the series of atrocities committed by the New People’s Army (NPA) during the month-long government-declared SOMO (suspension of military operations) which started midnight Dec. 19 and will end this coming January 19, 2015.
“Records show that the NPA has reciprocated the government’s gesture of peace with acts of violence during the period of SOMO,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said.
The SOMO was supposed to allow both sides to enjoy the Yuletide Season with their loved ones.
However, the NPAs only called for a shorter truce period on Dec. 24, 25, 26 and 31; January 1 and during Pope Francis’ visit on January 15 to 19.
He added that the rebels attacked non-military targets after being refused extortion money demanded from private contractors who implement development projects.
“They burned heavy equipment used for the construction of a bridge in Camarines Norte and a civilian vehicle in Agusan Del Sur,” Cabunoc said.
In Panabo City, they abducted Marvin Coquilla, the Provincial Jail Warden of Compostela Valley.
“Lately, they murdered two unarmed soldiers and a militiaman (CAFGU member) of the 71st Infantry Battalion in Mabini town Compostella Valley, killing 1st Lt. Ronald Bautista, Pfc. Albert Amor and CAA (CAFGU Active Auxiliary) Renel Baluca. The AFP mourns the untimely death of these fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the country,” Cabunoc pointed out.
He also said that if CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) wants to pursue peace, the rebels must show sincerity by stopping criminal activities such as murder of soldiers and policemen, kidnapping, extortion, recruitment of minors to commit armed violence, and bomb attacks that have killed both members of the security forces and civilians.