MANILA — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat of postponing the peace talks over the New People’s Army (NPA) use of command-detonated landmines “smacks of a poorly-crafted deflectionary tactic, with the aim of blaming the revolutionary forces for the repeated postponement of peace talks.”
On Aug. 7, following an ambush by NPA guerrillas against soldiers of the 25th Infantry Battalion in sitio Inuburan, barangay Rizal, Monkayo, Compostela Valley, Duterte warned the NPA to stop using land mines or else, there would be no peace talks.
The CPP noted that Duterte issued the ultimatum despite having yet to fulfill his own promise to release detained consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and political prisoners.
“He (Duterte) is showing himself to be more and more cantankerous, inventing one reason after another to attack the CPP and NPA instead of finding ways to push forward peace negotiations,” the CPP said.
The GRP-NDFP formal talks are slated this Aug. 20 to Aug. 27 in Oslo, Norway.
The CPP said that as Duterte hops from one military camp to another, he is “daily becoming more bellicose issuing threats of intensifying war.”
The CPP urged Duterte to fulfill his promise to release all NDFP consultants in order to have them lend their expertise in scheduled negotiations.
The CPP said all revolutionary forces are ready to work with Duterte to actively pursue talks to resolve the roots of the armed conflict through negotiations. It added however that the CPP is not one to back down from threats of war by Duterte.
“Waging people’s war has always been the path to strengthen the revolution and accumulate victories,” the CPP said.
The CPP said the NPA must expand the use of command-detonated explosives in launching tactical offensives against state forces.
The CPP reiterated that command-detonated explosives are legitimate weapons of war and are allowed under the Geneva Conventions and the Ottawa Treaty on Landmines. “Perhaps, he has not been closely listening to explanations about landmine conventions and distinctions made about different types of landmines,” the CPP said.
The CPP pointed out that the aim of the Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines is to protect civilians from accidental explosions. It added that the explosives and landmines used by NPA are command-detonated or blasted manually, some with a battery-powered electronic trigger held by a Red fighter.
The CPP said there is no incident where a command-detonated landmine laid by the NPA was accidentally exploded by a civilian.
The CPP added that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has repeatedly threatened to file charges against the NPA for violating international conventions over the use of command-detonated landmines but not one case has been filed. “We challenge them to do so,” the CPP said.
The CPP said command-detonated landmines are “a poor man’s weapon,” which are mass-produced by people who have no recourse to the expensive rockets and howitzers of state-funded armies.
So far, the CPP said the use of command-detonated landmines has been proven to be highly effective weapons at thwarting the frenzied military offensives of the AFP. “This is the reason why the AFP has been so adamant in its demand for the NPA to stop using CDX landmines to the point of mindlessly citing international prohibitions even without a comprehensive and clear understanding of those,” it said.