Rebels Continue Offensives
DAVAO CITY - Communist rebels have vowed to continue attacks on military targets as government peace negotiators failed miserably to convince the separatist group to sign a ceasefire accord and pursue talks aimed at ending the decades-old insurgency in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte has trashed peace negotiations with communist leaders and abandoned efforts by his peace negotiators to convince rebels to stop attacks on government and military targets. Rebels demanded the immediate release of nearly 500 political prisoners, mostly commanders and leaders of the New People’s Army, as a condition for the resumption of the stalled talks.
Duterte already freed over 2 dozen communist leaders, but the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, said the President should have released all political prisoners.
Just last week, rebels killed a pro-government militia and wounded 5 presidential guards in separate attacks in North Cotabato’s Arakan town in the restive southern Philippine region.
NPA rebels, who set up a checkpoint on the highway, attacked a convoy of presidential guards who were part of Duterte’s security group while heading to Cagayan de Oro City.
The ambush sparked a firefight, but there was no report of enemy casualties. The rebels also overran a detachment manned by militias and killed one of them. The attack occurred a day after rebels swooped down on the house of Vice Mayor Emmanuel Suarez of Surigao del Sur’s Cortes town. Suarez and his family were unhurt from the raid, but the rebels seized several firearms and warned the politician to do something to stop illegal fishing and logging in his town.
The daring attack on soldiers coincided with Duterte’s proposal to extend the martial law until the end of the year. Duterte declared martial law after local ISIS militants occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province in an effort to put up an Islamic State province in the region. Fighting still raging in the besieged city and hundreds of people had died from the violence that already displaced over 200,000 more.
President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by former Sulu Governor Dr Sakur Tan during his recent visit to Sulu province. (Photo courtesy of Noenyrie Asiri)
President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by former Sulu Governor Dr Sakur Tan during his recent visit to Sulu province.