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Monday, September 16, 2019

AFP: Offensives vs rebels won't affect peace talks

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has no intention to foil the peace negotiations between the government and the communists, despite its order "to degrade the armed capabilities of the New People's Army (NPA)," a military spokesperson said Wednesday.

AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. said the military merely made the instruction to avert the reported plan of the NPA rebels to mount attacks all throughout the country.

“The AFP and our security forces are certain that the NPA also issued an attack order. They issued a directive that said, ‘We should heighten or enhance the attack against the PNP and the Armed Forces.’ That was just answer to that. If there were no declaration, then that would not have been a problem,” Padilla told Palace reporters.

“It’s a tit for tat. So why would we not forewarn our men if we know that they are leaning forward to attack and destroy our forces?” he added.

The AFP Operational Directive no. 2 or “AFP’s Implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao” provides that among the security personnel’s “key tasks” is to ensure that the NPA, armed group of the communists, will not be able to stage any offensives in the country.

On June 30, Malacañang warned that the NPA is planning to raid “people-oriented programs and infrastructure projects” in strife-torn Mindanao and key cities of the country.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, government's chief peace negotiator, said Tuesday that the negotiating panels of the government and the communist group would meet in third or last week of July to tackle issues that would be discussed in the resumption of talks.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech delivered at the 50th founding anniversary of Davao del Norte, said that he remains committed to pursuing the peace dialogue with the communist rebels. (SunStar Philippines)
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