POLICE yesterday were told to continue their ‘full-court press’ against the New People’s Army and keep the rebels on the run after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that there would be no ceasefire with the leftist movement this Christmas.
“We will focus on maintaining peace and order in the area. Now, with the PNP, as support agency to the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the implementation of the counter-insurgency campaign, we will still perform our role,” said Philippine National Police spokesman Chief Supt. Dionardo B. Carlos.
The Department of National Defense said the Armed Forces will continue to vigorously pursue operations against the NPA amid the presidential decision.
President Duterte said he is inclined to declare the communist armed group as “terrorist” any time soon explaining that the death of a 4-month-old baby who was hit by a stray bullet when NPA guerrillas ambushed a group of policemen in Talakag, Bukidnon recently was the last straw for him in his dealings with the communist rebels.
“The President has had enough of the communist movement’s alleged penchant for double-talk and continued acts of atrocities against the Filipino people,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
“We strongly suggest to the NPA to lay down their arms, surrender, return to society, and be part of the real change espoused by the national leadership,” Andolong said.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa earlier ordered both offensive and defensive actions to effectively address threars posed by the NPA, the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups in the countryside, according to PNP Director for Operations, Director Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan.
“All units are reminded and directed to sustain and beef-up law enforcement, security and safety activities. Expect possible ambushes and attacks to be launched by the NPA/threat goups,” Cascolan said in a memorandum to all police regional offices and national support units.
The order was issued in the aftermath of a number of deadly NPA attacks on lightly-guarded police stations and patrols in the countryside over the past few months.