GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), to step up offensives in Mindanao.
Jorge Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF), said in a statement that the NPA was told to attack “legitimate military targets” as a form of “resisting renewed [military] offensive activities.”
Madlos said the call for increased offensive action was meant “to meet head-on” increased military operations under the extended counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
“[The CPP] is moving to thwart government’s goal of crushing the Maoist revolutionary movement in three years as laid out by the new administration of President Benigno Aquino III,” he said.
Madlos said a similar order was also relayed to NPA units in other parts of the country.
“It is very clear that the brisk military activities in Mindanao are a direct result of the extension of the OBL campaign,” he said.
The OBL campaign was originally set to end June 2010 but Aquino sought to extend its implementation until the end of this year, Madlos said.
He criticized Aquino for “consciously waging war early in his term of office,” because this would clearly diminish the opportunity for achieving peace.
In his State of the Nation Address, Aquino had declared the government’s willingness to restart the stalled talks with the communists, but challenged communist rebels to show goodwill.
Madlos said it was very clear that the Aquino administration was “preparing for war and not for creating an environment conducive to just peace.”
Madlos said the NPA was ready to reciprocate the government’s action, citing recent attacks by the rebel group.
He said during the past two months, the NPA has staged 50 offensives that resulted in 17 casualties on the government side.
The offensives, he said, were concentrated in the northeastern and southern Mindanao regions.