Communist rebels have vowed to launch “armed counteractions and offensives” nationwide to protest at the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said today (Tuesday, July 18) that a five-month extension would result in worse abuses by the military and police “in the vain hope of completing the suppression of the armed resistance in Marawi City”.
Party founder Jose Sison has also warned that any expansion of martial law beyond Mindanao would be “a declaration of war against the revolutionary movement”.
A statement posted on the CCP’s website said: “It will prolong the restrictions against civil and political freedom and aggravate violations of people’s democratic rights.
“It will further suppress the truth to control the narrative to favour the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).
“Thus, it is imperative for the entire Filipino people to vigorously oppose this plan.
“Revolutionary forces nationwide are firmly united and ever determined to resist martial law in Mindanao.
“The New People’s Army (NPA) must continue to strengthen itself nationwide by carrying out armed counteractions and offensives across the country to defeat the Mindanao martial law and nationwide all-out war.”
The fifth round of peace talks between the government and the communists has stalled in the wake of the “all-out war” launched against the NPA in February and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
The party said that the president’s actions continued to “build the foundations of authoritarian rule under US imperialist tutelage”.
“His supermajority of congressional sycophants are likely to approve without question Duterte’s Mindanao martial law extension plan,” it said.
“He has launched a war which he cannot finish. The Duterte-US-AFP war has roused the Moro people to take up arms to seek retribution for all the death and destruction perpetrated by the fascist siege and incessant aerial bombardment of Marawi City.
“They demand a halt to the siege in order to return to their homes.”
The CPP also claimed that martial law in Mindanao was directed at the NPA insurgents as much as the Moro rebels.
“AFP armed offensives against the NPA have been stepped-up over the past two months. Aerial bombings and shellings have been carried out in North Cotabato, Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and elsewhere,” it said.
“Workers rights have been suppressed. Attacks against civilian communities have stepped up. Paramilitaries have been emboldened by martial law and are subjecting the Lumad people to threats and harassments.
“Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao or nationwide, is an assault on every Filipino’s rights and freedom,” the CPP said
The message was amplified by party founder Mr Sison, who said: “The threat to declare martial law nationwide would certainly be a declaration of war against the revolutionary movement.
“It would practically kill the peace negotiations.”