THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday rejected anew the request of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for the suspension of military operations (SOMO) in the rebel-infested Agusan and Surigao provinces.
Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) spokesman Capt. Alberto Caber said the request was turned down by 4th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya and Easmincom commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz 3rd.
“There is no let up of operations against those who sow terror acts in the communities,” Caber quoted Cruz as saying.
The 4th ID has jurisdiction over the Agusan and Surigao provinces, which also falls within the area of responsibility of the Eastminom.
Caber said that while the soldiers are propagating the culture of peace in the communities, the CPP-NPA continues their harassment, violent attacks and extortion activities against innocent civilians.
Last week, the CPP-NPA also asked the AFP to stop its operations in Agusan and Surigao in exchange for the freedom of four kidnapped policemen.
Instead, the 4th ID commander ordered his troops to continue their operations, saying that they don’t negotiate with the NPA.
Visaya has assigned three battalions to run after the rebels.
The four policemen were taken hostage by the rebels after they attacked the municipal police station of Alegria in Surigao del Norte.
Caber said two NPA members were killed and two government troops were wounded in the incident.
He added that the NPA also carted away the station’s firearms that include six M16 rifles, two M14, four shotguns, four 9mm pistols, assorted ammunitions, P51,000 cash, cellphones and laptops.