THE ambush of members of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) by the New People’s Army (NPA) that left a militiaman dead and four others wounded in Davao del Norte would not dampen the resolve of the military to support peace negotiations with communist rebels, a military official said on Thursday.
“It will not dampen our resolve because we believe in the peace process and we abide by it and we maintain our resolve to continue with [the peace talks],” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The attack, which Arevalo described as “isolated,” happened three days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the rebels in his first State of the Nation Address on July 25.
Immediately after the President’s declaration, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya ordered all commanders of unified commands, major services and AFP-wide service support units to observe the Suspension Of Military Operations (SOMO) against the communist rebels.
On Wednesday, members of the CAA, while returning from their patrol base in compliance with the ceasefire, were waylaid by the rebels said to be belonging to the Guerilla Front 34 of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte.
Arevalo said NPA attacks are always possible, thus when the AFP declared the SOMO, Visaya told all military personnel to be cautious against the rebels.
The AFP official added that he is hoping that the Communist Party of the Philippines, its political wing the National Democratic Front and the NPA, its armed wing, will reciprocate the military’s action and declare their own SOMO as soon as possible.