NPA hierarchy has no control over its rebel fighters? (Feature)

December 23, 2010 2:02 pm 

By Ben Cal

MANILA, Dec. 23 – The first apparent violation by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the current 19-day Christmas truce in Negros Oriental on Monday could be an indication that the rebel hierarchy has no control over its fighters, as the military has repeatedly voiced out.

“We doubt if their intention is translated or is performed in the units in the field,” Brig. Gen. Jose Z. Mabanta Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said, following an attempt by a 12-man NPA squad on the life of Larry Bustamante, a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Sitio Pulangi, Barangay Humay Humay in the town of Guihulngan a few hours after the truce took effect last Monday.

“Remember that this organization (NPA) is a loose organization and not all of the things that we want done are implemented at the lowest level,” Mabanta added.

"It is important that the intention of the leadership at the highest level is cascaded, or is translated for implementation at the lower level,” he added.

Reports said Bustamante was on his way home when he was ambushed by the rebels. Luckily, he was not hit.

Bustamante returned fire, prompting the NPA rebels to withdraw.

Earlier, AFP chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr. has expressed doubt that a directive coming from the NPA leadership to implement an order for a ceasefire during the holiday season would be followed to the letter by the NPA down the line.

On the part of the military, David assured that the 19-day ceasefire — the longest in 10 years — will be observed by every soldier.

David has cautioned government forces not to relax during the ceasefire period.

The 130,000-strong AFP has been placed on defensive mode from Dec. 16, 2010 until Jan. 3, 2011 and will fire only if attacked by the rebels.

Two days before the truce took effect, NPA rebels killed 12 soldiers and a nine-year-old boy in a landmine ambush in Barangay Sta. Fe in Las Navas, Northern Samar.

The use of landmine is prohibited by the United Nations (UN) because of its deadly effect to non-combatants even if they are far from the encounter area as what happened in the Northern Samar ambush.

The soldiers were on their way to barracks preparing to observe the truce when the NPA detonated the landmine. The soldiers were able to return fire but because of the serious wounds they suffered in the landmine explosion, 10 of the troops died due to loss of blood while two others were wounded.

They nine-year-old boy, who was swimming in a nearby river, was hit by bullets fired by the NPA.

The river is located far behind the soldiers’ position during the fighting.

The government has denounced the ambush was premeditated and treacherous, particularly the use of landmine which is banned by the UN. (PNA)



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