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CPP orders NPA fighters to help in disaster, relief ops

Members of the New People's Army have been mobilized to help in disaster relief operations in flood- and landslide-hit areas in Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao. On Wednesday, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the order particularly applies to NPA units in Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Northeast Mindanao. "Given the severity of the damage wrought by these recent disasters upon the masses, the revolutionary forces in flood- and landslide-affected areas are prioritizing disaster and relief operations in order to ensure the safety of communities and help affected families recover from the calamities," the CPP said in an article posted Wednesday on its website. As of Tuesday night, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 18 people have died from floods that hit parts of Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao. The order came shortly after a ceasefire between the government and the NPA ended at midnight last Monday. Government and the CPP-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) agreed on the ceasefire last December as a confidence-building measure for the resumption of peace negotiations. Both camps are to hold informal talks later this month before resuming negotiations in February. On the other hand, the CPP said the massive flooding and landslides once again underscore the need to oppose "environmentally destructive large-scale mining and logging operations." It said these "have caused massive forest denudation and siltation of waterways." — LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV