The National Democratic Front-Mindanao has mobilized all its forces to provide assistance and help in the rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of families victimized by typhoon Pablo on December 4. NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos called on all revolutionary forces and people to seek donations for the victims. He also said that big mining, logging and plantation companies in the affected areas should be held accountable by requiring them to shoulder a major portion of the expenses for relief and rehabilitation.
The NDF-Mindanao likewise declared a 29-day ceasefire to enable unhampered rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations in communities severely hit by typhoon Pablo. The ceasefire took effect at 12:00 noon of December 5 and will end on 12 noon of January 3, 2013. Ka Oris called on all NPA units in the affected areas to help in rescue operatiions and repairing damaged houses and infrastructure as long as the security situation and their resources allow it.
In a separate statement, the Merardo Arce Command (MAC) of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao Region announced the areas covered by the ceasefire. These are the provinces of Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte; Davao City; Lingig town in Surigao del Sur; and the municipalities of Trento, Veruela, Loreto and Sta. Josefa in Agusan del Sur. The MAC has purposely included parts of the region that were not directly hit by typhoon Pablo to enable the various NPA units to do all they can to deal with the disaster.
The MAC said at least 24 towns in the region, more than 30% of its revolutionary forces and more than a million peasants, workers, Lumad and other impoverished people have been affected. Operations in gold mining plants in Diwalwal, banana packing plants of multinational companies in Compostela Valley and even in the cononut industry in Davao Oriental have come to a standstill because of a massive power outage and substantial damage to infrastructure, leaving hundreds of thousand of farm workers, mining workers and coconut farmers jobless and their families hungry.
Meantime, the NPA in Davao-Agusan (Front 34) belied the military’s claims that Red fighters abducted the wife and children of a soldier on December 9. A number of Red fighters were then repairing some damaged houses, while others were on watch when a motorcycle with three people and a driver aboard approached. When the motorcycle passed by the Red fighters on guard, the driver suddenly stopped and ran away, leaving his three passengers behind. Because he acted suspiciously, the guerrillas gave chase. They found out after a few minutes that the driver was actally an active soldier when he hurled a grenade at the pursuing Red fighters. The passengers, who turned out to be the soldier’s wife and children were turned over by the Red fighters to the barangay officials.
In Northcentral Mindanao Region (NCMR), the NPA likewise declared a ceasefire in the towns of San Fernando and Talakag and in Valencia City in Bukidnon because these areas also sustained major damage from typhoon Pablo. The announcment was made by NCMR spokesperson Ka Cesar Renerio on the occasion of the first anniversary of typhoon Sendong, which battered the region in December 2011, leaving more than 1,200 people dead and a billion pesos in damage to agriculture alone.
Meanwhile, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) condemned five fishing companies based in General Santos City for forcing up to 315 workers and crew to sail even if warnings had already been issued about an impending supertyphoon.