Military still on red alert despite truce-A A +A
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
TACLOBAN CITY – Government troops based in the Eastern Visayas said that despite the holiday truce, they will still be on red alert status in anticipation of a possible attack by the New People's Army.
The rebel group might also take advantage of the declared suspension of military operations to strengthen their group, Lieutenant Colonel Noel Vestuir, spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division, based in Catbalogan, Samar, said in a telephone interview.
Vestuir guarantees that the military will continue to be on offensive mode.
"We will continue in our mission, defending the security of our people,
(especially in the hinterlands)," he said.
Earlier, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo David announced a 18-day suspension of military offensive, to start on December 16 and end on January 3, 2011.
The military in the region, under Major General Mario Chan, has vowed to defeat the rebels, who they claim have active armed members of not less than a thousand.
Meantime, Vestuir said that they are optimistic that the planned peace talks between the National Government and the Communist Party of the
Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) would succeed, paving the way to the ending of one of the world's longest insurgency movements.
"The military, just like everyone else, is also hoping that this problem would come to its end peacefully," Vestuir said.
A press statement dated Dec. 3 issued by the Philippine Revolution Web Central, through the NDF-Eastern Visayas, indicates that the preliminary meeting held last Dec. 2 and 3 in Hong Kong by the members of the Philippine government (represented negotiating panel chairperson Alexander Padilla) and Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the NDF's negotiating panel was "fruitful, meaningful and cordial".
The formal peace talks between the Philippine Government and the NDF is slated February 19 to 25, 2011, in Oslo, Norway.
During the meeting, Padilla also gave Jalandoni a copy of the order lifting the hold departure order (HDO) dated June 29, 1992, against Jalandoni. The order lifting the HDO was issued by Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III on November 30, 2010. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)