Duterte warns Reds: Stop attacks or else…
LUCENA CITY—President Duterte warned communist rebels he would revoke the unilateral ceasefire order he gave in favor of the New People’s Army (NPA) if the insurgents did not stop attacking government forces.
“What is this? Are we into this truce or are we not?” Duterte said, during his “talk to the men” from the Southern Luzon Command at the Camp Guillermo Nakar covered court Thursday afternoon.
1 killed, 4 wounded
The President went on a tirade came after the NPA attacked members of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) from the 72nd Infantry Battalion under the operational control of the 60th Infantry Battalion who were on their way back to camp in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, on Wednesday morning.
Information released by Lt. Col. Angelo Guzman, assistant chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office based at Camp Aguinaldo, said one CAA member was killed while four others were wounded in the attack.
De Guzman said the CAAs were several days out of their camp on security patrol when the cease-fire was declared.
The CAAs were on their way to Sitio Patil from Sitio Kapatagan when they were ambushed by the NPA at Sitio Kamunoan. The soldiers’ names were withheld pending notification of their families.
Ceasefire to be revoked
Duterte gave the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and the umbrella organization National Democratic Front of the Philippines until Thursday night to explain.
“Give me answer by tonight because if tomorrow there is still none, I will revoke the ceasefire order. Balik tayo sa away. ’Yan ang gusto ninyo (Let’s return to fighting. That’s what you want),” he said on Thursday.
“I’m demanding an explanation from the Communist Party of the Philippines. I demand an answer. Kung sino ang nagkasala (whoever erred in this) they must also be put under disciplinary action otherwise wala tayong pinag-usapan (we have no deal).”
“If you do not honor or you kill a single soldier or a Cafgu or a soldier of the republic, sabi ko kalimutan na natin ito (I say let’s forget it). Fight na lang.”
In his first State of the Nation Address on Monday, Mr. Duterte announced an immediate unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels, “to immediately stop the violence on the ground, restore peace in the communities, and provide an enabling environment conducive to the resumption of the peace negotiations.
The following day, the AFP issued a suspension of offensive military operations (Somo) in its pursuit of the NPA. The Philippine National Police also ordered its units to halt operations against the communists.
The government and the NDFP are set to resume formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway, late next month.
CPP founder Jose Maria Sison welcomed President Duterte’s ceasefire announcement. He said the NDFP would issue a positive response “within the hour.”
But Jorge Madlos, or “Ka Oris,” spokesperson of the NPA National Operational Command, on Tuesday afternoon said all ground units were ordered to maintain an active defense mode while awaiting instructions from their leadership, apparently referring to Sison and others.
The order for a reciprocal ceasefire from the rebel side has not yet come.
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