DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 30, 2010) – Four government soldiers pursuing communist rebels were wounded Friday in two roadside bombings blamed to the Maoist New People’s Army in Davao City in the southern Philippines, officials said.
The explosion occurred in Paquibato district where troops were tracking down the rebels, who had been blamed in the spate of attacks on military and police forces in Davao City.
Major General Carlos Holganza, commander of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, condemned the attacks. “These terrorists have repeatedly ignored and violated every known tenets of International Humanitarian Law and utterly disregarded the safety of civilians who might be hurt by planting improvised explosive devices on road nets just like the previous incidents,” Holganza said.
He said at least 11 people, mostly soldiers, were killed and 30 others wounded last year in Davao region alone.
The twin attacks came a month after new Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he would forge a cease-fire and resume peace talks with communist rebels. Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after rebel leaders accused President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners languishing in jails and to put a stop to extrajudicial killings of political activists.
But the Communist Party of the Philippines warned the Aquino government against using the "immediate ceasefire" line as the premise for the resumption of formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The Communist Party of the Philippines said it is ready to immediately resume formal peace negotiations based on previously agreed principles and agenda and without any preconditions. “If Aquino insists on having peace talks premised on an immediate ceasefire, he will be reducing his peace declarations to empty rhetoric,” the CPP said.
“The CPP challenged Aquino to immediately commence negotiations and abide by previous agreements, including The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which sets the framework, principles, agenda and sequence of the peace negotiations,” it said.
“For the armed revolutionary forces, engaging in peace talks while their weapons are tied up violates the revolutionary principles and virtually holds us hostage. It would be foolish for us to expect to talk on fair and equal terms regarding life-and-death questions with the other side, when we have our arms dropped while the forces on other side have the barrels of their guns pointed at our heads.”
The rebels are fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)