The New People's Army (NPA) on Friday blamed government troops for getting waylaid in an ambush in Davao del Norte on July 27, after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire.
The NPA's Compostela Valley (Comval) North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command, in a press statement, confirmed that communist rebels were behind the attack.
Aris Francisco, the NPA command's spokesperson, claimed that the ambush "thwarted a military offensive" by Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) members and Alamara paramilitary troops.
One member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was killed and four others were wounded in the attack. The squad leader of the para-military troops said they were just returning to their detachment following Duterte's ceasefire declaration during his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Francisco, however, disputed the Armed Forces of the Philippines' account.
"The ambush was in adherence to the directive by the NPA National Operations Command for Red fighters to maintain on alert status and on active defense mode in response to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s declared unilateral ceasefire with the National Democratic Front, NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines during his State of the Nation Address on July 25," he said.
"The AFP and the Alamara have been on active operation in Kapalong, resulting in several engagements including its July 5 ambush that wounded one Red fighter. Determined to continue its offensive military operations in Kapalong, the same troops ignored the ceasefire declaration of their Commander In Chief and again took off for combat operation from their detachment in Brgy. Patil on July 26," Francisco said.
"The NPA guerrillas were able to detect their movement enroute to what the military and the paramilitary purported to be fixed NPA targets some 20 kilometers away from their detachment. Had the Red fighters not taken the initiative to actively defend itself by intercepting the 72nd IB/Alamara troops, the operating AFP troops would have carried out its own combat action and inflicted damage against the NPA unit," he claimed.
Duterte on Friday issued an ultimatum to the CPP-NPA to reciprocate his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire.
Duterte said he is giving the communists until 5 p.m. on Saturday to reciprocate the truce. - with a report from Hernel Tocmo, ABS-CBN News