THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on alert against possible attacks by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 45th founding anniversary today.
AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said on Wednesday that the military will continue to adhere to the 26-day suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) earlier declared by the President.
The soldiers, he added, will only maintain a defensive position and will remain active in protecting communities against any armed groups that may take advantage of the Yuletide ceasefire.
Of the 77 provinces in the country, only 25 have so far been declared as insurgency-free.
Maj, Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the Third Infantry Division based in Capiz, said that his men will continue with their security patrols to protect the civilian populace, government and private infrastructures, and military camps and detachments.
“Taking into consideration the transgressions of the NPA in the past that took advantage of the ceasefire of the AFP, the military will continue with its proactive defense countermeasures to prevent NPA attacks,” Baladad said, adding that the CPP-NPA usually resorts to violence on their anniversary.
Last year, the NPA took advantage of the SOMO when it fired on a group of soldiers conducting peace and development activities in Sitio Anoy, Barangay Cabalaunan, Miagao, Iloilo province.
“We will not allow the past transgressions and violations committed by the CPP-NPA that stained the holidays with violence to happen again this year. Our forces remain vigilant especially in protecting the civilian communities,” Baladad said.
The unilateral 26-day truce declared by the President took effect midnight of December 21 and will end on January 15, 2013.
But hours after the government ceasefire was announced, the rebels attacked two military detachments in the provinces of Quezon and Sorsogon.