NPA attack in Samar declaration of war not intent to make peace — Lorenzana

At least three people were killed and 14 were wounded after an attack allegedly carried out by a communist rebels on a police car in Brgy. Libuton, Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Dec. 13.  (CBCP News)

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assailed the New People’s Army attack in Borongan Eastern saying it was a declaration of war rather than a pleasing interlude of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ commitment and readiness to talk peace.

The most recent attack of the NPA led to the death of a policeman and two civilians, which Lorenzana pronounced as a blatant “declaration of war by communist rebels.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan condemned the ambush that also left 14 others wounded even as he also expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack, including a policeman and two civilians.

“I am saddened over the incident,” he said. “I express my sympathies to the victims and their families as I assure them of my prayer.”

“The CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA declared war against the government and has been waging it for 50 years bringing untold misery to our people. This is war,” Lorenzana said in a message on Sunday.

The timing of the attack seems out of tune amid the news over the government’s willingness to reopen the stalled peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Lorenzana said the attack was a typical ploy of the insurgents. “That usually is what they do on the eve of peace talks to heighten their attack to project their so-called strength.”

Earlier, Lorenzana also announced on national media, the government is not keen on declaring a ceasefire with the rebels in the holiday season on reasons that rebels almost always renege on their ceasefire agreements in the past by staging ambuscades and the like.

In effect, Lorenzana said, with or without the looming resumption of negotiations, government forces will continue launching operations against the rebels.

“No let-up [of operations] even during peace talks,” Lorenzana stressed.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año held CPP-NPA founding chair Joma Sison “personally responsible” over the ambush.

In a statement on Sunday, Año said Sison “praised and applauded the massacre because it allegedly proved the strength of the communist movement.”

A former military chief, Año cited a statement from Sison saying the attack in Eastern Samar was the “answer” of the communist rebels “to the repeated claim of the Army and the police that they have finished off the NPA.”

“This is another brazen act of terror against the people. Unfortunately for Joma, the death and wounding of so many civilians prove to the people what they really are — a ragtag band of terrorists whose thirst for blood knows no equal,” Ano said.

Equally responsible is the NDFP “for the intelligence, political and logistical support that enabled the NPA” to carry out the attack, he added.

At the same time, Año also called on the Commission on Human Rights “to be true to its word” by conducting an investigation into the ambush. (IAMIGO/CNS)

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