MANILA - Communist rebels have implemented an unofficial ceasefire in Bicol region to help those affected by tropical depression Usman, an adviser of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines said Monday.
NDFP senior adviser Luis Jalandoni said New People's Army fighters have been laying down their arms whenever calamity strikes the region to help those in need.
"Nagagawa na po ng CPP-NPA 'yan, kapag mayroong calamity, na ginagawang parang actual ceasefire dahil lahat ng konsentrasyon, para tulungan 'yung taong bayan diyan sa area. Ilang beses na nagagawa 'yan," he told DZMM in an interview.
(The CPP-NPA do that, when there is a calamity, they implement an actual ceasefire to focus on helping those in need. They've done that several times.)
Jalandoni said it is up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to also stop attacking the NPA in times of disasters and calamities.
"Ang importante lang talaga ay 'yung sa AFP, PNP na sila ay may respect nung ceasefire," he said.
(What's important is for the AFP and the PNP to respect the ceasefire.)
He also said that despite risks of attacks from the government, the NPA would still help those in need.
"Handang handa ho ang CPP-NPA kung gagawin rin ng AFP. Pero kahit hindi gawin ng AFP, tutulong pa rin ang CPP-NPA sa taong bayan," Jalandoni said.
(The CPP-NPA is ready to help if the AFP will cooperate. But even if AFP won't do so, the CPP-NPA will still help the people.)
Tropical Depression Usman left at least P4.2 billion worth of total damage in agriculture and infrastructure, disaster officials said Monday in the aftermath of the storm.
In its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Usman's onslaught damaged almost P1 billion worth of crops and at least P3.3 billion in infrastructure.
The year-end storm, which killed at least 126 people, did most damage to the regions of Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas.
Most of Usman's fatalities were from Bicol region, particularly in Sagñay town in Camarines Sur were at least 30 people were killed due to landslides, the NDRRMC said.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the deployment of additional troops to parts of the country, including the Bicol region, to suppress lawless violence.