PNP halts offensive operations vs Reds; to focus on quarantine efforts
MANILA, Philippines — The leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has ordered the temporary cessation of all tactical operations against communist rebels to focus on assisting the government in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
This was after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and National Democratic Front (NDF) from 12 a.m. of March 19 up to 12 a.m. of April 15.
“All national, regional, provincial and district police maneuver units engaged in internal security operations have been placed on defensive posture and have shifted operations to disaster response and public safety mode to enforce the enhanced Luzon-wide community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19 upon the government’s declaration of a national state of calamity,” PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a statement on Wednesday.
The top PNP boss said his directive will let police forces to devote energy and resources to help patients and health workers, and escort the delivery of medicine, food items, and other basic needs to the local market.
Gamboa also said he hopes the communist rebels will reciprocate the government’s initiative and allow welfare and peace in the country.
In another statement, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the nation’s police force to terminate all offensive operations against the NPA.
Año also directed the PNP to implement strict home quarantine, ban mass gatherings, and enforce other health protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19, a highly contagious respiratory disease.
“Active defense operations shall only be undertaken in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by hostile forces,” he said.
The Philippines was placed under a state of calamity as cases of COVID-19 continued to surge, increasing to 202 as of March 18. Of the 202, 17 have died while seven managed to recover.
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