Troops ‘ready to defend country’ from NPA threats

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Thursday, January 2, 2014


MANILA -- The Malacañang assured Thursday that security forces are ready to defend the country following the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) threat to launch massive attacks against government troops this year.

In a press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Aquino administration is also not closing its door to restarting a peace dialogue with the leftist insurgents.

"Siyempre po tutugunan ‘yan ng ating mga security forces and law enforcement authorities sapagkat tungkulin po ng Sandatahang Lakas na ipagtanggol ang ating mga mamamayan at panatilihin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga komunidad," he said on the rebels' threat of more attacks.

The CPP, the umbrella organization of the Maoist group, ordered its New People’s Army (NPA) units around the country to undertake "more frequent tactical offensives" and to seize more firearms from the military, paramilitary and police forces. [Read more about the CPP's order.]

But the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also said it is always ready and will intensify its military operations against the communist rebels.

Captain Christian Uy, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said they will intensify their attacks to prevent the leftist insurgents from conducting “sabotage against the communities.”

He said the CPP-NPA’s plan in Mindanao shows that the communist movement is not sincere in its cause.

“They exist because they want to bring destruction and sorrow to our democratic way of life,” Uy said, adding the AFP is ready to defend the people against the Maoist fighters.

Also despite the CPP's threat, Coloma said the government will continue to seek ways to reach a peace deal with the communist group.

Peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the CPP-NPA, bogged down in February last year.

One of the issues is the release of communist advisers from government detention centers as a precondition for the start of the peace discussions.

"Hindi po nawawalan ng pag-asa o ng determinasyon ang ating pamahalaan na malampasan kung ano man ‘yung mga hamon na nagsisilbing balakid dahil isa pa rin po ‘yan sa mga timetable ng ating pamahalaan," Coloma said.

"Sinisikap po nating maisulong ang kapayapaan hindi lamang doon sa Mindanao kundi sa iba’t iba pang mga larangan at kasama na diyan ‘yung pakikipag-ugnayan o pakikipag-negosasyon sa CPP-NPA-NDF para po maresolba ang matagal nang usapin hinggil diyan," he added. (SDR/With Anjo J. Bacarisas of Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)

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