NPA-SMR orders forces to help address Covid-19 health crisis

The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao, along with all of its units in the region, are one with the Filipino people in their struggle to rise above the Covid-19 health crisis and its economic toll against the toiling masses. We share the people’s condemnation of the US-Duterte regime’s inutility in the face of the pandemic.

In light of the situation, the Regional Operations Command of NPA-SMR commands all its armed units to adhere to the Party’s ceasefire order between 00:00 hrs of 26 March and 23:59 hrs of 15 April 2020, and desist from launching offensive actions against enemy troops and their installations. However, in light of the relentless combat operations still being carried out by AFP troops in the region, all NPA units must observe active defense at all times and ensure the safety of the masses and all Red fighters. All movements of AFP troops, including their insidious community support program (CSP), in violation of their unilateral ceasefire in our bases areas and guerilla zones must be monitored and promptly reported.

Additionally, in line with the Party’s directive, we order all NPA units in the region to assist all organs of political power and revolutionary organizations in addressing the health crisis in their areas of operation. Red commanders and fighters, especially medical officers, are ordered to launch widespread information dissemination, undertake health and sanitation campaigns, and draw up preventive measures. Timely and immediate reporting and monitoring must be undertaken to check incidents of the disease in the communities. Health workers must be mobilized and made to be on call for referrals and consultations.

Production campaigns, especially for food and other necessities, must immediately be drawn up and implemented to ensure food security in our bases and zones as the situation unfolds. Care must be considered to guarantee health and safety as we adopt these campaigns among our ranks and among mass organizations and organs of political power. NPA units must persevere in advancing the program of agrarian revolution as our main line in addressing the imminent and pervasive economic repercussions of this health crisis.

The NPA in Southern Mindanao has consistently stood for the welfare and interests of the masses, especially during times of calamities and crises. The fascist approach that the US-Duterte regime has opted to resort to, all the while disregarding the immediate needs of the masses, will surely intensify the inherent crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system and pull millions more of the Filipino people to the fold of the national democratic revolution.

In the run-up to declaring a national emergency concerning the pandemic, Duterte has ordered his fascist troops to stick to their costly counter-insurgency campaign, disregarding calls to use precious resources in preparing for an impending escalation of the health crisis.

On March 18, merely two days after Duterte went on national television to ask the NPA for a ceasefire in consideration of the Covid-19 pandemic, some 10 AFP combat aircrafts, including Agusta attack helicopters, drone surveillance aircraft and Huey helicopters for aerial troop deployment, launched massive aerial bombardment that started at around 4:00 in the morning until late in the afternoon in several farms and houses in adjacent sitios of Brgy. Cabuyuan, Mabini town in Davao de Oro province. Several rounds of artillery shelling followed, as peasant families around the area scrambled to safety. Masses reported that the enemy bombed the vicinity no less than 20 times. A couple of days later, six civilians were reportedly arrested and taken to the enemy’s detachment by operating ground troops.

Already anxious of the unfolding pandemic, the masses’ situation was made worse by the indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling, pushed at least 50 families to evacuate to the nearby lowland barrios, and rendered them all the more vulnerable to the disease. To justify this atrocity, the 1001st Infantry Brigade falsely claimed that its troops engaged NPA fighters in the vicinity. No such armed engagement occurred that day.

The masses condemn this senseless, excessive and expensive bombardment, even as their already dire economic situation is being exacerbated by the unfolding health crisis. Elsewhere in the region, troop deployment for combat and intelligence operations were monitored in the provinces of Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, North Cotabato and Davao Oriental.

We urge the masses in the region to exhaust all forms of protest to denounce the US-Duterte regime’s inutility and fascist approach by demanding the reallocation of its humongous military and counter-insurgency budget towards health and relief services and immediate cessation of military operations. Debt servicing, especially for foreign debts, must be immediately stopped in favor of providing food relief to the basic masses. Lands appropriated for export agri-corporations must be used for intensifying food production.

As we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the NPA this year, the Covid-19 health crisis is an opportune time to prove the Red army’s mettle as the genuine army of the people.


NPA-SMR orders forces to help address Covid-19 health crisis