THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Defense department will pursue operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), now that the government has cancelled peace talks with the group.
“The President has had enough of the communist movement’s penchant for double talk and continued acts of atrocities against the Filipino people,” said Department of Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.
“We strongly suggest to the NPA to lay down their arms, surrender, return to society and be part of the real change espoused by the national leadership,” he added.
For its part, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Dionardo Carlos said they will make the necessary guidelines to implement and inform their forces that there will no longer be any ceasefire with the NPA even during the Christmas season.
“We will focus on maintaining peace and order in the area. Now, as support agency to the AFP in the implementation dito sa counter-insurgency, we will do our role, we will still perform our role. Kasi ‘yung practice before, pag meron tayong ceasefire, hindi tayo nagte-take ng offensive actions (During a ceasefire, we don't conduct offensive actions). So this time, we will continue our normal combat patrol and anti-insurgency operations,” he said.
In May, President Rodrigo Duterte suspended the fifth round of the peace talks with the communists following the series of attacks by the rebels against the government troops despite the peace process.
The President, however, has been flip-flopping on his stand on the peace talks and, at times, urged the NPA rebels to surrender with a promise that they will be given decent jobs and housing.
However, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced on Wednesday, November 22, that Duterte has already ordered the cancellation of all the scheduled meetings with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the communists' political arm.
"Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the president with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President's recent announcements and declarations," Dureza said.
The order came after Duterte announced his intent to classify the NPA as a terror group due to their recent attacks which resulted in the killing of a baby. (SunStar Philippines)