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NPA burns mine site

Kills five soldiers, hurts 2 Five soldiers were killed while two others were wounded in an hour-long battle with communist rebels who attacked the Sipalay City compound of the Philex Mining Corporation in Negros Occidental on Saturday morning, according to the military. The rebels raided the compound around 9 p.m. Friday and torched two employee bunkhouses, one Kubota tractor with drilling machine, one generator set, transmitter radios and personal belongings of some workers. Troops of the 303rd Infantry Brigade pursued the rebels and caught up with them at Sitio Omas in Barangay Camindangan around 7:40 a.m. Saturday where the firefight happened, according to the brigade’s spokesman Capt. Leo Christopher Cunanan. During the battle, five soldiers were killed while two others were wounded and the rebels took six of their rifles. The names of the government casualties were not released pending notification of their  kin. The attack came after the communist rebel leaders chided the Aquino administration for its supposed “great discourtesy and lack of manners” in unilaterally terminating the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front. “[President] Aquino is showing great discourtesy and lack of manners when it unilaterally terminates the talks relentlessly pursued over the past 20 years through irresponsible statements issued through the media,” the Communist Party of the Philippines central committee said in its website www.philippinerevolution.net. At the same time, the Palace also dismissed the CPP’s threat to intensify attacks with presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda saying the NPA never stopped its attacks even when the peace talks were still being pursued. In an interview with a government radio station on Saturday morning, Lacierda mocked the CPP’s peace tack as “chatty chatty bang bang,” apparently referring to the 1968 musical movie “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” But the NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said in a statement emailed to the MST Sunday that the communist movement remains open to the resumption of peace negotiation with the government. “The NDFP has continually asserted that it is committed to peace negotiations that address the roots of the armed conflict and pave the way to a just and lasting peace,” Jalandoni said in the statement. Jalandoni assailed officials of the Aquino administration in “acting irresponsibly by issuing bellicose statements” about terminating the peace negotiations with the NDFP. Jalandoni said chief government negotiator Alexander Padilla lied when he said the the NDF raised unreasonable preconditions for the resumption of the talks, particularly the release of NDF consultants who are under detention. He said the release of the consultants is not a precondition but an “obligation” of the government under the 1995 Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees that protects these consultants from arrest, and under the Oslo agreement of February 2011. Jalandoni also said it is the government that is setting a precondition on the talks for demanding an indefinite ceasefire, which he said is a capitulation or surrender. “It is preposterous to expect the NDFP to agree to an indefinite cease-fire that would give ground to the GPH to ignore more than ever before the substantive agenda on social, economic and political reforms,” he said.
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