THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has placed all its regional offices and national operating units on alert against possible hostilities on the eve of the 53rd founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"The CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army, are known to stage armed offensive actions to drumbeat commemoration of significant dates in the underground communist organization," PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Bernardo Carlos said in a statement on Saturday.

"Historically, there are documented incidents of high-profile tactical engagements against government forces, and hostilities against soft targets launched by the CPP-NPA to mark the CPP anniversary every December 26, and the NPA anniversary on March 29," he added.

Carlos stressed the PNP's Special Action Force (SAF) and its 17 Regional Mobile Force Battalions (RMFB) nationwide were put on the highest alert status for possible rapid deployment and quick reaction.

PNP units engaged in relief operations in the aftermath of Typhoon "Odette" were also reminded not to keep their guard down following reported attacks against policemen assisting in preemptive evacuation of residents in Samar and Surigao del Sur before the typhoon struck.

Get the latest news
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for The Manila Times’ daily newsletters
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

"This particular security concern is simultaneous with ongoing heightened security measures implemented nationwide by local PNP Units throughout the holiday season as well as relief and rehabilitation operations in areas affected by Typhoon Odette," said Carlos.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that as the Department of National Defense (DND) celebrates the Christmas season, they are also reminded of the "national cancer" that continues to ravage the Philippines as he denounced the CPP.

"For more than five decades, the CPP has brought nothing but misery, loss of lives, destruction of property and denial of a bright future for many Filipinos," Lorenzana said in a statement also issued on Saturday.

Lorenzana, a retired army general, explained that their long years of futile resistance should be more than enough for them to realize that they will never succeed in forcing their unchristian ideology and communist principle on our people. The influence of the CPP will continue to diminish as the government implements a whole-of-nation (WON) approach, where the people themselves are in the forefront of the fight.

"Since the WON was started in 2018, we saw the flood of surrenderees and capture or killing of ranking NPA cadres. At last the people are fed up and are rising up against them," he said.

"The government has offered benefits for those laying down their arms and rejoining society. Tens of thousands have availed of this offer. We call upon those still in the hills to also take up this offer. Come down for the sake of your families. Together we shall work to make our country peaceful and prosperous," he added.

Also, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lt. Gen Andres Centino said the CPP had suffered irreversible damage as government troops continue to gain tactical and strategic victories against the terrorist group.

"The CPP has nothing to celebrate on its December 26 anniversary. The year 2021 was the most successful period in our fight against insurgency. Our campaign has proven to be effective with the employment of the whole-of-nation approach involving instrumentalities of government in addressing the root causes of conflict that are at the center of the CPP's manipulation and exploitation scheme," Centino said in a statement.

Centino cited reports from the ground that the military has reduced the capabilities of the communist terrorist group (CTG) with the neutralization of its top leaders, the dismantling of 21 guerilla fronts and weakening of 14 others, and the clearing of 340 conflict-affected barangay (villages), causing the surrender of its members and the withdrawal of support of their exploited masses.

The AFP also confiscated 579 unexploded anti-personnel mines that could have endangered innocent civilians in clear violation of human rights (HR) and the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by the CTG.

AFP units on the ground have also monitored and reported to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights the 254 HR and IHL violations of the CTG.

"The shift in our methodology allowed us to counter both the armed component and the enemy's exploitation of social issues that are being used to agitate the people to turn against the state," Centino said, as he invited NPA rebels to abandon the armed struggle and the lost cause espoused by the CPP.

"This year, the CTG has suffered irreparable damage in its leadership, strength, and resources, and the government's accomplishments have placed us in a better position to end the local armed conflict by next year as mandated by the President. The AFP is confident that it can comply with the order to put an end to insurgency before the term of President ends and finally bring lasting peace and development in the countryside," Centino added.