The Daily Manila Shimbun


Lorenzana to recommend keeping ceasefire despite reported skirmishes with NPA

February 2, 2017

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte to continue observing the unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army even if they announced it will end  on February 10.

“We have recommended that we continue observing our ceasefire. It is only a recommendation to be approved by the president but the rationale is to demonstrate the government's sincerity to work for peace,” Lorenzana added.

Lorenzana emphasized  the military “can always fight back” if the NPA attacks.

The Eastern Mindanao Command has placed all its forces on alert,.a spokesman said. All units are now on active defense posture following the order of Lieutenant General Rey  Leonardo Guerrero, Eastmincom chief, according to Major Ezra Balagtey.

A military spokesman said three soldiers were declared killed in Bukidnon after they went missing on Wednesday night,

Capt. Norman Tagros of the Army’s 403 rd Brigade Civil Military Officer, said the three soldiers who were unarmed and in civilian clothes  were returning to their detachment on a motorcycle when they were ambushed by armed men believed to be NPAs.

Civilians found the bodies, said Tagros. Major General Benjamin Madrigal, commander of the 4 th Infantry Division, said based on initial investigation the suspects were shot several times.

Two soldiers were also abducted by men believed to be NPAs in Sultan Kudarat, said Captain Ryan Batchar, spokesman of the Army’s 10 th Infantry Division, they were accosted by 10 men in Columbio town at 7:30 am.

Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, said the military has enough forces ,especially in eastern Mindanao where majority of the NPA are located.

“Our troops are adequate to address whatever threats in their area,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS