OFFENSIVE operations against the New People's Army (NPA) will continue even though the Davao City government has already initiated a local peace negotiation, the Philippine Army said.
Colonel Ernesto Torres, 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander, told reporters on Wednesday during the weekly press forum at The Royal Mandaya Hotel that while they support the move of the city to reach out to the leaders and members of the left, the army will still continue with their offensives as part of their mandate to protect the communities against NPA attacks.
"The DC-Peace Committee, I was informed that the objective is to reach out doon sa mga organization ng mga NPA. While that is being done by the city government, we are not prevented from implementing also the peace effort or peace initiative of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," he said.
He underscored that there is no military involved in the Peace Committee. The effort also complements their programs being implemented in affected areas.
"As military we can add pressure because we are expecting some security forces to be coming in to be added to 1003rd Infantry Brigade," Torres said.
The 3rd and 16th Infantry Battalion (IB) deployed in the city, he said, could now focus in combatting insurgency and preserving peace in the upland portions of the city because there would be additional battalion with the 89th IB set to be deployed in the Eastern side of Davao del Norte.
Some units in Western Mindanao will also rejoin the 10th Infantry Division; however, he is not certain where the battalion will be placed.
Earlier, the Davao City Peace Committee (DC-Peace) said they are eyeing to talk to three identified New People's Army (NPA) commanders within Davao City for the localized peace talks.
When asked who could be those commander that the DC-Peace is referring to, he was uncertain because there are many Guerilla Fronts (GFs) and commands operating in the city.
However, he said Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 1 and PBC2 led by Ka Bobby and Ka Jinggoy, respectively, are operating in Toril, Calinan, Marilog, and Paquibato.
"I am not really privy as to who these three commanders that the DC-Peace committee is referring to. But to me, the PBC 1 and PBC 2 ito po ang I think among the other NPA organizations in the area. These are the two organizations that are really causing threats in the area so I assumed that these commanders may be included in the three," he said.