AFP gears up for possible attacks in next week
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is preparing for possible attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) as the rebel group is set to celebrate its 49th anniversary next week.
“The AFP is intensifying efforts to thwart possible attacks and atrocities by the NPA in line with their upcoming anniversary on March 29, 2018,” said Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin Jr., AFP spokesman, Tuesday.
“The occasion is usually marked by their attacks against our people and vulnerable communities,” he added.
Datuin recalled “in the past, they (rebels) have staged hostilities such as raids, ambushcades, and sabotage against government troops, on public establishments and vital installations that severely affected innocent civilians” during celebration of their founding anniversary.
“These attacks against our people are terroristic in nature and clear reflection of their true color as a criminal and terrorist organization,” Datiun said.
“In the National Capital Region (NCR) they have staged rallies and protest actions that caused massive traffic that affected motorists and commuters,” Datuin added.
“They have repeatedly done such actions that disturbed the peace of the place and pestered law abiding citizens,” he noted.
On the other hand, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana called on the rebels to return to the government fold.
“On the NPA 49th anniversary, I ask them: to lay down their arms and re-join society. Your cause has become irrelevant,” he said.
“Do not be the spoilers of peace, progress and development. If you could not win 49 years what made you think you could salvage victory in the next 50? Come down, you owe your families and children a life of peace and stability. Let us join hands to build a better Philippines,” Lorenzana added.
Datuin assures that the military “will continue to be on a proactive stance against all threats of violence and will exert every effort to preserve the peace in every locality.”
“The fight against terrorism and the preservation of peace is a shared responsibility of everyone,” he said.
Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesman of the Central Command, said troops in Visayas were placed on alert for the NPA anniversary.
“On NPA anniversary, our troops are already on the alert. The NPA in Visayas, with its reduced strength and capability, is not much of a threat to our troops but only a distraction in our supposed to be peaceful communities,” said Aguilar.
“I hope and pray that as they celebrate their anniversary, the NPA members will realize that "armed struggle" is not the solution to the problem they see in our communities,” he said.
“The "armed struggle" that started 49 years ago has only brought death and misery to our country. It did not solve the problem and it never will,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS