Military calls for public vigilance as Reds mark 50th year
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has advised the public to be vigilant against possible attacks by communist rebels as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 50th founding anniversary on Wednesday.
Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP public affairs office, on Monday said the military was prepared for any eventuality but urged Filipinos to take “extra caution and remain vigilant” against attacks by “terrorist groups.”
Detoyato noted that CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison had ordered the New People’s Army (NPA) to escalate attacks during the Christmas season.
Secure the communities
“Our soldiers on the ground and at all levels of command will continue to monitor and conduct security operations against the CPP-NPA-[National Democratic Front of the Philippines]. We are ready to secure any community threatened by them,” he said.
But Detoyato said the military was ready to welcome rebels who would “abandon the armed struggle and violence perpetrated by the [communist movement] and embrace a life of peace and prosperity with their family.”
The CPP, he said, has had no achievement to celebrate since Dec. 26, 1968, when Sison founded the CPP.
Lt. Gen. Danilo Pamonag, commander of the Southern Luzon Command, also said the CPP-NPA had “no achievement to be proud of” in half a century of fighting the government.
President Rodrigo Duterte stood pat on his decision not to declare a holiday truce with the insurgents — the first in 30 years.
State security officials earlier argued that a ceasefire with the insurgents would be futile because the rebels continued to attack government forces.
The CPP ordered the NPA to observe a holiday truce that took effect at midnight of Dec. 24 to end midnight of Dec. 26.
Another truce would take effect at midnight of Dec. 31 and end at midnight of Jan. 1.
Pamonag reiterated his call to the insurgents to abandon the armed struggle.
“Our offer for peace is open to all who wish to take this opportunity to abandon the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA and embrace a life of peace and prosperity,” he said.
Sison on Tuesday claimed that the people could invoke its right to oust President Duterte whom he described as a tyrant and instigator of mass murder.
In a statement posted on his Facebook account, Sison said the people should make the President their “precise target” in the exercise of their “sovereign right to free themselves from tyranny.”
The people, he said, should undertake all necessary actions to oust the President.
Only 39 percent of Filipinos voted the President into office, which leaves him with a precarious hold on the presidency, Sison claimed. —With a report from Delfin T. Mallari
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