Palace: NPA attack in Iloilo ‘opportunistic’
The attack of the New People’s Army on a police station in Iloilo on Sunday was an “opportunistic” act, Malacañang said on Monday.
“Although the attack was not in Mindanao, the act was opportunistic in nature and disregards the nature of the [National Democratic Front] declaration,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press briefing.
Heavily armed communist rebels attacked a police station in Maasin town on Sunday morning, taking at least 12 firearms.
NPA spokesperson Ka Jullio Montana accused the municipal police of extorting from small vendors and allowing the proliferation of illegal drugs and gambling.
The NDF earlier ordered its fighters to refrain from attacking government forces and instead focus on the proposed cooperation in neutralizing terror groups in the country.
“We ask the NDF to call on their armed comrades on the ground to walk the talk and to show genuine sincerity on the confidence-building measure initiated by the government and their side,” Abella said.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, meanwhile, said that the impact of the attack is not just on the peace talks but “illustrates the tragedy of insurgency.”
“Hopefully the attack is just part of the birth pains of the agreement to stop offensive military actions, even if it covers only Mindanao as of now. It is an argument for a nationwide ceasefire,” he added.
In an ambush interview after the briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said security forces will continue their operations against communist rebels.
“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang operasyon (The operations will continue). We have not cancelled this practice. There’s no unilateral cessation of hostilities between our troops and theirs because there is no formal agreement. So, tuloy pa rin ang ating ginagawa (So, what we’re doing will still continue),” he said. JE/rga
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