COMMUNIST leaders on Thursday called on their armed wing, the New People’s Army, to intensify attacks on government troops as a way of opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law.
In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines said armed resistance by the NPA was the “most effective way” of rejecting martial law, as proved during the regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
“The Party calls on the NPA to plan and carry out more tactical offensives across Mindanao and the entire archipelago,” the CPP said.
“In the face of the Duterte regime’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, the necessity of waging revolutionary armed struggle becomes ever clearer,” it added, as it also urged the NPA to accelerate its recruitment of new fighters.
CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison said Duterte’s martial law declaration was like “playing with fire” and had “no or little justification.”
Sison, in self-exile in The Netherlands, questioned if the clashes between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi City are enough to justify martial law in the entire island of Mindanao.
“There is even an allegation the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] made a ‘false flag operation’ to justify martial law,” Sison said.
Sison warned Duterte of the possible repercussions of his decision, just as Marcos did in the 1970s.
“That’s what they did in 1971 and 1972 when they tried to disarm the Muslims,” Sison said.
“Duterte is playing with fire if he thinks it is a solution to Philippine problems,” he added.
On Tuesday night, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following the attacks of the ISIS-inspired Maute group on Marawi City, resulting in clashes with the military and police that have killed five and wounded 31 other government troops.
Duterte said that he will be “harsh” in terms of implementing martial law, saying that it would not be different from what Marcos did.
The communist call for attacks on the military did not bode well for ongoing peace talks with the government.
Government chief negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III described calls by the CPP as an “insult to the candor and genuineness in talking peace” shown by the Duterte administration.
“We are deeply disturbed that the Communist Party of the Philippines made a false reading of the intents of President Duterte in placing Mindanao under martial law,” Bello said.
“We therefore find the CPP directive to the NPA to intensify attacks as totally misplaced borne out of a grossly distorted appreciation of the President’s intention.”
Bello also called on the CPP to “correct its error and recall its senseless order.”
“At the very least, it was an insult to the candor and genuineness displayed by the President and the GRP [government of the Republic of the Philippines] panel in talking peace. At worse, it betrays the absence of sincerity of the CPP in the negotiating table,” he added.
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