Monday, August 7, 2017

AFP chief orders units: Go after all NPA rebels

From the Mindanao Times (Aug 7): AFP chief orders units: Go after all NPA rebels

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ordered all military units to ratchet up pressure against the New People’s Army following the all-out war directive by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview with the press in Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters on Saturday during the presentation of firearms recovered during a series of clashes, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año said they will intensify the offensives against the communist rebels.

At the same time, the AFP chief called on the rebels to leave the armed group and lay down their arms.

“There are so many programs awaiting for you,” he said. “Forget the armed resistance because there’s nowhere for you to end up there except only death.”

Año all brigade and battalion commanders are expected to give regular updates on the situation on the ground, as well as their performance.

He also commended the accomplishments of the military brigades and battalions under Eastern Mindanao Command, headed by Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, 10th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, and 4th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal for several successful operations against the NPA.
“You (Soldiers) had my back,” Año said. “I commended our soldiers in the 25th IB, 39th IB, 73rd company and Special Forces following the series of encounters against the rebels,”he added.
The Duterte administration has ordered back its peace negotiators, headed by Sec. Jesus Dureza, from talking with the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front following several attacks on government forces.

The President has insisted that the communist rebels reciprocate the government’s gesture of goodwill after declaring unilateral ceasefire. But the Jose Maria Sison, founder of the CPP, said that guns won’t be silenced without first addressing the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

“The people demand that CASER be a step ahead of the joint ceasefire agreement, unless these agreements can be signed at the same time by the panels and then by the principals,” Sison said in a statement. The signing of the CASER by both panels will pave the way for “genuine land reform, lay the foundation of national industrialization, ensure the protection of the environment and wise utilization of natural resources, uphold the people’s rights, improve the wage and living conditions, expand the social services and develop international economic relations within the contect of an independent foreign policy.”

However, President Duterte has cooled down with continuing the peace talks and also stepped up on his verbal attacks against Sison. In late July, however, he reached out to the rebels by promising jobs for them when they lay down their arms. He said they can either be integrated into the military, or undergo free skills training and when they graduate, a job will be waiting for them.

Another clash
Meanwhile, another firefight sparked between troops of 67th Infantry Battalion and NPA in Sitio Bactinan, Barangay Old Macopa, Manay Davao Oriental on Saturday around 8:30 a.m.
Capt. Ronnel Legarde, the civil- military operations (CMO) officer of 67th IB, told TIMES that their troops encountered about 40 communist rebels in the said place. The firefight lasted for about an hour before the rebels withdrew toward an unknown direction.
There was no reported wounded soldiers during the gunfight.

Legarde said the soldiers just responded to the report from the civilian regarding the presence of rebels in the community.

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