Palace thinks Reds fooling military with holiday ceasefire declaration
MANILA, Philippines – The communist rebels are using their holiday ceasefire to catch soldiers off guard, Malacañang said Friday, after the New People’s Army (NPA) took hostage two soldiers and 12 militiamen in Agusan del Sur recently.
“Now it seems to me now that they’re using the truce to have our soldiers on the ground off guard. They’re taking advantage of that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Jose Maria Sison earlier said NPA rebels would observe a five-day holiday ceasefire despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s order of a full-scale war against the communists.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday admitted the military was caught off guard when NPA attacked in Agusan del Sur.
“The problem is they’ve been declaring they will have this truce. So maybe our men on the ground believed that there is really a truce so they did not anticipate those attacks,” Panelo said.
He, however, said it was not prudent for the military to be complacent.
“Definitely it’s not prudent, they made a mistake there so look what happened to them. That should be a lesson for all of them, they should be like Boy Scout, be prepared. Because like a thief in the night, the NPAs will come to you and assault you,” he said.
While Panelo said the Palace welcomed the statement of Sison that the rebels would release their hostages, he said the government won’t stop pursuing the rebels.
“Well, we welcome that, but it doesn’t mean that we will stop the assault on those forces that are going to ambush our troops,” he said.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte would not declare a holiday ceasefire with NPA rebels.
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