THE army and the police in Negros Island Region (NIR) are back to their offensive operations after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Friday the lifting of the government’s unilateral truce.

Brigadier General Francisco Delfin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said they are now in “combat mode” after Duterte lifted the ceasefire.

He said that soldiers were directed to protect vital installations and local government units in case the New People’s Army (NPA) will launch offensive attacks.

Delfin added that troopers were told to intensify their security patrol operations and double their vigilance and peace and development efforts.

He said the army also augmented the “vulnerable areas” in the region, adding that they are in constant coordination with the police.

For his part, Senior Superintendent Mariano Natu-el Jr., deputy regional director for operations of Police Regional Office (PRO)-18, said they are on full alert since the start of the week.

With the lifting of the suspension of offensive police operations (Sopo), the police and the army can now go back to its offensive operations against insurgents, he said.

Natue-l said the police and the army will have roving patrols in the mountains and far-flung areas, adding that government troopers will engage the rebels if they encounter them.

Successive NPA attacks

Duterte lifted the ceasefire after the nearly 20 attacks perpetrated by the rebels over the past four days, leaving six soldiers dead. Three others were abducted.

He said the government’s unilateral ceasefire ends Friday night.

The President said he had informed Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año of his decision to end the truce with rebels last Thursday.

Duterte said a “peaceful generation” could not be achieved now that the unilateral ceasefire between the two parties has been lifted.

“Peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation many years from now. There will be deaths since you are killing my soldiers. Resume [war] anytime,” he said.

Last Wednesday, the NPA announced the unilateral ceasefire that they declared will be terminated February 10 at 11:59 p.m.

The NPA cited that the government "has not complied with its obligation to amnesty and release all political prisoners."

It also accused the Duterte administration of benefitting from the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire "to encroach on the territory of the people's democratic government.

Duterte, however, reiterated that he tried his best to reconcile with the communist group but the NPA has so many “unreasonable demands.”

Despite this, the communist rebels assured that it would still support the ongoing peace talks.

But the President expressed doubt that the scuffle between the government forces and the communists would end.

"If they say, on February 10, there will be ambush in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, sorry. So I would like to express my sadness. We cannot have a peaceful generation. There will always be a fight," Duterte said.

"The golden opportunity – since I belonged to the Left – would be under my administration. Otherwise, it will be nothing," he added.

Año vowed to retaliate at the NPA rebels who have launched series of attacks in the country that claimed the lives of six soldiers, including a junior officer. (with reports from SunStar Philippines)