Manila, March 29 The Philippines government on Sunday accused the Communist rebels of the New People's Army (NPA) of violating a ceasefire announced by their leader last week following the UN's call for a global halt to armed clashes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo condemned the NPA's "attack on our soldiers while the latter were doing community work in Barangay Puray" in Rizal province, Luzon Island, following the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by both sides, reports Efe news.
"This armed attack by the NPA against our soldiers exposes the insincerity of the former in declaring a ceasefire," Panelo said in the statement.
One soldier was killed in the attack while two others were wounded, he added.
On March 24, Jose Maria Sison, the founder of the banned Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the NPA, announced that he had recommended a unilateral ceasefire to the guerrillas after the UN's call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 18, Duterte had declared a unilateral ceasefire with the NPA to allow the military to focus on the ongoing outbreak of the new coronavirus, but Sison rejected it the following day, saying it was intended "to intimidate the people, suppress democratic rights, commit human rights violations".
On Sunday, the 51st anniversary of the guerrilla's founding, the Communist Party announced that the NPA was mobilizing its forces, especially its medical units, for a health campaign to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Philippines has 1,075 confirmed coronavirus cases with 68 deaths.
( With inputs from IANS )