NPA spokesperson says Reds on stand down mode but ready for combat if attacked
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—-The New People’s Army continued to heed a ceasefire declared separately by communist rebels and the government but would engage government forces if attacked, a rebel spokesperson said on Thursday (Dec. 26).
“We will not initiate any offensive but if the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) will make a move, we will respond,” said Sandara Sidlakan, NPA spokesperson for Agusan del Norte.
She spoke by phone to reporters on the occasion of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) 51st anniversary. NPA is CPP’s armed wing.
The truce, which had been set for Dec. 23 until Jan. 7, 2020, started on shaky ground after NPA guerrillas launched attacks on government targets in the provinces of Iloilo and Camarines Norte that coincided with the ceasefire period.
Maj. Evan Vinas, city police spokesperson, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) had been on full alert even before the CPP anniversary.
He said police in the city set up more checkpoints following the two NPA attacks in Iloilo and Camarines Norte on Dec. 23, the day the truce was set to start.
“We are fortifying our defenses,” Viñas said.
He said the PNP was also conducting “camp defense drills” and bomb simulation exercises to prepare for enemy attacks.
The last quarter of 2019, he said, had been spent on those exercises to raise the level of preparedness of police and their readiness to respond to actual and planned threats.
Vinas, however, said intelligence reports did not point to any insurgent movement in the city’s hinterlands. He added, though, that police were not taking any chances.
“We have been coordinating with the Army,” he said.
Edited by TSB
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