Lorenzana: Philippine military ready for intensified NPA attacks
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday that the military is ready for attacks from communist rebels, which has been ordered to step up its offensives after another martial law extension in Mindanao.
The defense chief told reporters that the Communist Party of the Philippines’ order to intensify attacks did not come as a surprise.
“Hindi naman bago ito (This is not new). With or without any order from the CPP-NPA they have been hitting us. Our troops are always ready to face them,” he said.
On Wednesday, the CPP tasked communist rebels to mount tactical offensives against government forces across the country in response to the approval of martial law extension for another year or until the end of 2019.
Mindanao was first placed under martial law in May 2017 after fighting broke out in Marawi City. About 1,000 people were killed during the five-month siege while hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The first martial law declaration lasted 60 days and it has been extended twice last year.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the order from the CPP leadership only affirms their decision not to declare a ceasefire this holiday season.
“Kaya tama ang naging kapasyahan ng pamunuan ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas na huwag mag deklara ng tigil putukan dahil alam namin na isa na naman itong patibong o kaya naman gagawin na naman na issue labas sa AFP kontra sa kapayapaan. Kasi nautoto na tayo sa kanilang mga kasinungalin at propaganda,” he said in a statement.
(The decision of the AFP leaders not to declare a ceasefire is correct because we know that this is another ploy and they will later say the AFP is anti-peace. We have learned from their lies and propaganda.)
Arevalo said the military is on high alert to assist the Philippine National Police and they are not downplaying the threats made by communist rebels.
“Hindi natin binabalewala ang mga pagbabantang yan. Mas pinag-iingat natin ang mga tropa ng pamahalaan sa mga ganyang pag-atake. Nasa mataas tayong alert level, hindi dahil sa banta na yan kundi sa pag-alalay sa PNP sa sandaling kailanganin nila ang tulong mula sa AFP,” Arevalo said.
(We are not downplaying the threats. We are urging government troops to be cautious. We are on high alert not because of the threats but because we are ready to assist the PNP whenever they need help from the AFP.) /ee
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