The communist rebels’ claim of truce violations by the Army in Caraga Region is nothing but “a cock-and-bull” story being spread by the communist movement to discredit the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“No attack transpired and no personnel from our battalion were involved in the alleged violations,” said Lt. Col. Romeo C. Jimenea, commander of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) in a statement on Tuesday, December 31.
Jimenea was reacting to the claim of the New People’s Army (NPA) through a certain Nicolas Mariano alleging that the 26IB violated the Christmas truce on December 23 by attacking NPA members in San Vicente, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.
The 26IB is under the operational jurisdiction of the 401st Infantry Brigade of the Army.
Jimenea said their forces are intact and accounted for.
“This is an outright fabrication of the NPA to undermine the Army’s sincerity in adhering to the ceasefire declared by President Rodrigo Duterte, the AFP’s commander-in-chief,” Jimenea said.
He said the allegation could be a ploy by the NPA to redeem itself from the “blunders” committed in Labo, Camarines Norte that killed a soldier and wounded six others, including the rebels’ attack in Tubungan, Iloilo that injured two policemen.
Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, also criticized the NPA for “fabricating stories.”
“Your soldiers are disciplined, responsible and professionals,” Licudine said, adding the Army in Caraga Region has always complied with Christmas truce declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte, which began on December 23 and is set to expire on January 7 next year.
“We shall not let these terrorists fool us. We call on every Caraganons to be on alert and stay on guard,” he added.
Licudine accused the NPA of “doing everything to sabotage” the prospect of lasting peace in Caraga, with “the purpose of making themselves and their movement relevant to the people and communities.” (PNA)