The military will resume combat operations against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) now that the holiday truce is over, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Tuesday.
DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said starting at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, the military will pursue operations against the communist rebels.
“The insurgency problem is really a national priority. Our peace and order situation is critical to achieving national development,” Andolong told reporters.
“We have areas that local economies are not prospering because of the activities of the terrorists especially those engaged in kidnapping, arson, extortion,” he added.
Andolong said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is facing “plenty of enemies on several fronts” but it is serious is ending the communist insurgency “because it would be hard to achieve progress if this will not be addressed.”
Maj. Gen. Noel Clement, commander of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said they will commence pursuit operations against the NPA rebels who attacked troops while the holiday ceasefire was in force.
“Now is the best time to end this problem and let our country develop and improve the lives of our people,” Clement said. “We will also do this so we can finally put a stop to their atrocities and extortion.”
AFP public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said all ground units will pursue NPA members who violated their own ceasefire declaration by attacking government troops and harassing civilians.
“Our soldiers will resume pro-active combat measures nationwide to protect vulnerable communities from armed threats and deceptions of the NPA,” he said in a statement.