CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Camarines Sur: Incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ricardo Visaya directed troops under the 9th Infantry Division (ID) here to intensify military operations against the communist guerrillas until no clear-cut guidelines are given.
“Until no official and clear-cut guidelines have been issued, until no formal talks have been made, we continue with our current operations in Bicol. Remember that the NPA (New People’s Army) announced that they will increase tactical offensives against government forces until the last day of the Aquino administration,” the new AFP chief said.
Visaya reminded the Infantry Brigade and Battalion commanders not to relax, but instead continue pushing the pressure against the NPAs through focused military operations.
However, he added that the AFP must support all peace initiatives of the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
From January 1 to the present, the Army in Bicol have neutralized 21 NPA members, killed 10, captured nine, while two others surrendered. Similarly, the Army’s 9th ID seized 23 high powered firearms, eight low powered firearms and 131 IED (improvised explosive devices) were recovered.
Visaya, concurrent Southern Luzon Command chief, flew to Bicol on Monday to bid goodbye to his men at the Army’s 9th ID based in Pili, Camarines Sur led by Commander Major General Ferdinand Quidilla.
He told the troops that Duterte gave focus for the AFP to address the persisting Abu Sayyaf group threats in Mindanao, the AFP’s support to law enforcement operations of the PNP, and the nation-wide anti-illegal drugs campaign.
He also warned soldiers against the use of illegal drugs stressing that the AFP will be strict on this matter.
Meanwhile, Visaya also reminded the troops not to be misled by the reported coup rumors because Duterte is slowly moving the country to communism.
“His talking to different anti-government groups and organizations and his offer of Cabinet posts to members of the Communist Party is in pursuit of peace. President Duterte is aiming to attain genuine peace. If he really wanted the country to be under the communists, then why did he designate many former military men to his Cabinet?”
The outgoing Solcom chief also expressed gratitude to the officers, men and women of the 9th ID during his term as their commander and urged them to support the Duterte administration.
“Let us support the next administration the way we support the current administration. Do not believe in coup rumors because there is no coup. The AFP leadership is solid to the constitution, the organization and the chain-of-command,” he declared.