LIEUTENANT General Oscar Lactao, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Central Command. (Screenshot from the video interview by Kevin A. Lagunda)
LIEUTENANT General Oscar Lactao, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Central Command (Centcom), said communist rebels are bringing more trouble amid the crisis in Marawi City.
Instead of helping the people affected by the crisis, Lactao said the New People's Army (NPA), Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) brought more trouble by launching attacks in other parts of the country.
"Napansin ko itong NPA, CPP and NDF instead na makipagtulungan sa ating kababayan, nagdadagdag pa sila ng gulo (What I noticed with NPA, CPP and NDF is instead of helping our citizens, they are adding more chaos)," Lactao said, citing the attack by suspected NPA members at the police station of Maasin town in Iloilo on June 18.
"If they are really sincere that they are for a better Philippines, wag na muna silang manggulo. Tumulong na lang sila (They shouldn't bring trouble. They should help.) It's better if they refrain from doing these things since peace talks are ongoing," the commander added.
[Video: LTG Lactao interview]
Lactao expressed hope that the ongoing Marawi crisis, which started last May 23, will be over soon.
On June 22, two sugarcane planters died in an ambush believed to be perpetrated by the members of the NPA in Barangay Minapasuk, Calatrava, Negros Occidental. The two planters succumbed to gunshot wounds.
"Our leaders said it will be over soon. We can see that the resistance is going down," he said.
The death toll in Marawi crisis has reached 387 as of Monday, June 26, 2017, as the troops press against Maute terror group.