Lorenzana warns NPA: Don’t aggravate situation in Mindanao
The martial law in Mindanao was implemented not to decimate the New People’s Army (NPA), contrary to what the latter was claiming, the Defense chief said on Saturday.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana warned that members of the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) who will engage in criminal activities will be “dealt with or without martial law.”
“We would like to make it clear that in the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not specifically target the New People’s Army as alleged by NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) Chief Consultant Jose Maria Sison,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
“Let me emphasize, however, that members of the CPP-NPA who will engage in criminal and illegal acts such as kidnapping, extortion, murder, and the destruction of property will be dealt with or without martial law,” he said.
The government official also urged the Communist rebels not to aggravate the situation in Mindanao.
“Gusto ko lang liwanagin ang mensahe ko sa CPP-NPA. Huwag na kayong makigulo pa sa nangyayari ngayon sa Mindanao (I just want to tell the CPP-NPA not to aggravate the situation in Mindanao). Do not force the government’s hand,” Lorenzana said.
“Immediately stop all illegal activities and abide by the true spirit of the peace process. This is the only way we can move forward,” he said.
The Communist party ordered its armed wing to launch more attacks, particularly in Mindanao as a protest to the government’s declaration of martial law.
The CPP-NPA hit President Duterte for ordering the AFP soldiers “to impose its rule and carry out more abuses with extreme impunity.”
“The Party calls on the NPA to plan and carry out more tactical offensives across Mindanao and the entire archipelago,” it said.
But Lorenzana assured that the military will conduct its operations in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human life.
He said the military will fully comply with the President’s directive to address radical Islamic terrorism and narco-terrorism in Mindanao.
“We are conducting our operations in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human life. Law-abiding citizens in Mindanao need not fear the increased military presence and activities in their localities,” he said.
The defense chief stressed that government security forces are there to protect the populace, maintain peace and order and go after criminal elements. IDL