THE Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Negros Island Region (NIR) resumed their offensive operations on Sunday after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA).
Second Lieutenant Ma. Revekka Roperos, public information officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said that “all army units in NIR shall resume and intensify its operations,” adding that they support the plans and programs of the present administration.
She added that the Army were directed to continue the “conduct of Bayanihan team activities that are all geared towards the protection of citizenry, respect of human rights, and pursuit towards genuine peace and development that all Negrenses deserve.”
Chief Superintendent Conrado Capa, director of Police Regional Office-18, said they are on heightened alert against the NPA.
All police chiefs in the region already know the standard operating procedure, he said.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson called the lifting of the unilateral ceasefire a “temporary setback,” as both sides have opted to proceed with the scheduled dialogue.
“There is hope that peace will be attained,” he added.
Duterte lifted his truce declaration on Saturday as a result of last Wednesday’s rebel ambush in Kapalong, Davao del Norte that left a government militiaman dead and four others wounded.
“Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering for the immediate lifting of the unilateral ceasefire that I ordered last July 25 against the communist rebels,” Duterte said in a statement.
The President's statement came after his 5 p.m. deadline for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to declare an end of hostilities with the government had lapsed.
On Friday night, Duterte gave the communist rebels an ultimatum to announce a ceasefire, following the attack of New People's Army (NPA), the CPP's armed wing, on the government militiamen on July 27.
The militiamen were on the way back to their base, in compliance with the President’s ceasefire, when the insurgents attacked them. The militiamen were coming from a security operation.
The NPA said that they would only declare a truce, if Duterte investigates his troops, who alleged violated the ceasefire order. However, hours after Duterte’s order to lift his truce declaration, the CPP declares own unilateral ceasefire.
Duterte, however, instructed the state security forces to withdraw the operational guidelines, which was issued is in line with the truce, as well as be cautious on possible threats.
"I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land," he added. (MPE and GYM with reports from Sunnex)