Monday, August 1, 2016

AFP back on red alert after Duterte lifts ceasefire order

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 1): AFP back on red alert after Duterte lifts ceasefire order

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now on high alert status after President Rodrigo Duterte withdrew the unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF on Saturday night.
In his Facebook page, Gen. Ricardo Visaya, AFP chief of staff, said all forces will resume their military offensives against the New People’s Army.
“The NPA have missed a golden opportunity to manifest their commitment to the attainment of our citizen’s much sought peace throughout the land,” Visaya wrote.
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said they remain committed to protecting the communities against any threats, whether the rebel or terrorist groups.
He also denied the accusation by the NPA that it was the Armed Forces of the Philippines which first violated the ceasefire. Government militias were attacked by communist rebels last week, resulting to 1 dead and four wounded.
In a separate interview, Chief Insp. Andrea Dela Cerna, spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO-XI), also said that they will follow the new instruction from President Duterte who lifted the ceasefire. Meanwhile, they will continue to enforce the laws and maintain peace and order in the barangays.
“I am ordering the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Phil National Police to also withdraw the operational guidelines they issued in pursuance to that ceasefire declaration,” Duterte said in a statement.
“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,” the President said.
Meanwhile, the 10th Infantry Division issued a statement on the NPA’s version of their attack against CAAs in Davao del Norte last July 27.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, division public affairs officer, said they strongly take offense on the accusation that it was they who first violated the ceasefire declared by the President during his state of the nation address last week.
“On the allegation that the AFP twisted the facts by leaving out the information that the troops were on combat operations and not engaged in ‘civilian’ activities, nowhere in our press statement or Facebook post did we claim that our troops are in ‘civilian’ activities,” he said.
He said that the ambush site was about “two to three days walk” from the patrol base of the government militias in Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte. The Cafgus, he said, received the order to stop all offensive actions on July 26.
“We are calling on the NPA to stop resorting to propaganda and instead truthfully show their sincerity in the efforts of President Rodrigo R. Duterte bring peace to the entire nation,” he said.

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