The recent clashes between the PNP and the NPA in the Mountain Province again put the issue of the use of anti-personnel explosives in the limelight with the government accusing the rebels of violating International Humanitarian Law. But are all anti-personnel explosives prohibited under the Ottawa Convention? Are the NPA bound to adhere to formal and customary laws of war?
Most reports provided the basic information about the clashes, enough to inform the readers of what transpired. However, straight news that dwells only on the firefight and the casualties tends to create further division among the people. It leaves a data gap on the circumstances that caused the events and the reasons why the war in the countryside continue to rage.
The Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF) accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of lying when they alleged the New People’s Army (NPA) used an unmanned improvised explosive device (IED) in their April 2 clash that killed a policeman and wounded nine others at Cabunagan, Poblacion, Tadian, Mountain Province.
(Updated Apr 04, 8:00 pm) Government troops have incurred 12 casualties and three villages have been ordered to evacuate in Bauko town after a series of clashes between the authorities and the New People’s Army erupted in the municipality and bordering forest area with Tadian.
Another clash between troops from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion of the Police Regional Office Cordillera and communist rebels occurred in Mountain Province on Sunday.
Communist-rebels in Mountain Province marked the Golden Anniversary of the New People’s Army today, Mar 29, with an attack against operating troops from the Philippine National Police-Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) Cordillera at around 9:30 AM in Bauko municipality
The Lejo Cawilan Command-New People’s Army Kalinga said military report regarding an encounter in the boundary of Buaya and Mabaca, Balbalan town on Mar 20 is “fake news.”
Assailants murdered Randy Malayao, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) while sleeping on a bus, parked for a break on the trip near the CCQ restaurant at Aritao in Nueva Vizcaya, at 2:30 am on January 30.
As a peace advocate, I view the original and the newly amended proscription petition as a stumbling block in peace building. Proscription poses constraints for the CPP and the NPA to return to the negotiating table thus putting the possible resolution of the roots of the armed conflict even more difficult, complicated if not altogether impossible.
The chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today, Jan. 18 called the amended petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippine and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations as “a piece of legal fiction with dire consequences for the people.”
Reacting on the recent Philippine National Police pronouncement that students and youth are being “forced” to join the New People’s Army, a progressive youth group said that individuals joining the armed revolution make their own choices.
NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison said the NPA has no choice but to intensify the armed struggle even as the NDFP keeps the door open to peace negotiations.