AFP: No order for truce yet
The military on Tuesday said it had yet to receive orders to suspend operations against communist rebels as it expressed skepticism over reported declaration by guerrillas of a halt on offensives against government forces during the Holy Week.
Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs division, said suspending military operations against the rebels was a “political decision vested upon the political leadership.”
Holy Week is the high point of the Lenten season marked by prayers and quiet meditation on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Garcia said he found as “unusual” an announcement purportedly made by rebels for a halt to offensives against government targets from March 29 to April 1.
It came from a certain “Ka Oto,” spokesperson of Guerrilla Front 16 of New People’s Army (NPA).
“We believe that such unusual declaration by the NPA is another ploy to deceive the security forces,” Garcia said.
He said the military was wary about the halt in offensives by NPA as it could be meant to just force the government into suspending military operations against rebels that could give NPA the break it needed “to reconstitute forces, recruit new members, extort money and rest from the unceasing focused military operation of the AFP.”
Guerrilla Front 16 is an NPA unit based in the Caraga region in Northeastern Mindanao.
On March 18, the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) website, philippinerevolution.info, posted a statement from Ka Ariel Montero,
NPA Northern Mindanao spokesperson, declaring a temporary suspension of NPA offensives during the Holy Week.
The CPP is marking its 49th founding anniversary on March 29, Maundy Thursday.
Garcia said the CPP anniversary was usually marked by NPA attacks against government forces and the people.
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