AFP says combat ops vs rebels to resume at end of truce, cites NPA violations
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday (Jan. 7) said it will resume combat operations against communist rebels “with more intensity and focus” as soon as the ceasefire ends.
“They can expect that combat operations shall resume with more intensity and focus as soon as the clock strikes 12 midnight of 08 Jan 2020 without the need for orders from the new AFP chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
The ceasefire declared by the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines during the holiday season is set to end on Wednesday.
The government and the people “lost” during the observation of the ceasefire, Arevalo said.
He cited separate cases of alleged ceasefire violations by communist rebels like attacks on police and soldiers in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Iloilo.
Arevalo cited other alleged truce violations—the New People’s Army attack on Dec. 30 which wounded a soldier and a militiaman in Pantukan, Davao de Oro. He also listed two cases of murders of tribal leaders allegedly by NPA in Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana rejected the idea of extending the ceasefire.
“We are not recommending the extension, so we will resume the offensives vs. CPP-NPA…They can have peace talks without ceasefire,” he told reporters.
The President recently expressed interest to revive the stalled peace negotiations with the rebels. The formal resumptions of peace talks may begin this month.
In a separate statement issued on Tuesday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. dismissed peace talks with communist rebels.
“Are we going to trust the CPP NPA NDF or the communist terrorist group in another peace talks? Are they sincere? Do they have control over their fighters?”he said.
The military and top security officials instead have been pushing for localized peace talks with communists.
Edited by TSB
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