The Daily Manila Shimbun


Police, military to continue observing ceasefire

February 1, 2017

The police and military will continue to observe a truce declared by the Philippine government despite the announcement of the communist group to terminate their unilateral ceasefire next week.

Department of National Defense public affairs chief Arsenio Andolong said the “CPP-NPA’s decision to terminate the existing unilateral ceasefire will not deter the DND from supporting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s peace agenda.”

“The DND will continue to enforce the government’s unilateral ceasefire and the AFP will not actively operate against the NPA while our ceasefire is in effect,” he said.

“However, government security forces will continue to maintain peace and order and run after lawless elements whoever and wherever they are,” he added.

Andolong said government forces do not recognize the NPA’s claims to areas which they believe are under their control. He said the military is ready to defend themselves when they are attacked.

In a statement, Senior Superintent. Dionardo Carlos, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, said their organization will adhere the unilateral ceasefire declared by the government in August 2016r.

“It is unfortunate that the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military arm, the New People’s Army had terminated the unilateral ceasefire it declared in last year,” Carlos said.

“Despite this development, and its possible implications to internal security, the Philippine National Police will continue to observe a Suspension of Offensive Police Operations (SOPO) to honor the Philippine Government’s own declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/NPA/NDF,” he added.

Carlos said “with a SOPO notwithstanding, the National Headquarters has alerted all PNP units to remain vigilant and to maintain a high state of operational readiness to respond to hostile actions by domestic threat groups.”

“Specifically, PNP units will be on alert for possible movement of armed CPP/NPA members who will take advantage of the SOPO to reposition and regroup; and to engage in unlawful activities,” he said.

Carlos said “suspension of offensive police operations does not cover normal law enforcement operations and shall be implemented without prejudice to actions aimed at protecting the people and the communities, as well as PNP troops and installations against insurgent or terrorist attacks that may take place during the SOPO period.”

“As such, normal police function such as service of warrants of arrest, checkpoint operations and other routine security measures will continue without let-up,” he said.

In another statement, Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs chief, emphasized there are contradictions in the statements of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“We heard about the report that the NPA is lifting their unilateral ceasefire declaration effective Feb. 10 through their spokesperson a certain Ka Oris,” Arevalo said.

He also noted a report quoting NDF chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili who said there have been no orders from CPP-NPA leadership to revoke its unilateral ceasefire.

“This reflects the need for CPP-NPA-NDF leadership to control the actions of their people on the ground,” Arevalo said.

“The same lack of control led to various infractions of their own ceasefire declaration that disturbed the ongoing negotiations,” he added.

Major Ezra Balagtey, AFP Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman, said Lieutenant General Rey Leonardo Guerrero reiterated his directive to units to be on alert for possible attacks.

"Alert troops for possible attacks. Do not hesitate to fight back and pursue. Protect communities including our detachments and camps against enemy attack. We are on active defense posture,” Guerrero said.

It can be recalled majority of  NPA rebels in the country are based in Eastern Mindanao. Robina Asido/DMS