Combat operations against Reds resume as truce ends

Published January 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Martin Sadongdong 

The military’s combat operations against communist rebels have resumed starting Wednesday midnight following the expiration of the holiday truce between the Philippine government (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Lorenzana said that he will not recommend an extension of the ceasefire to President Duterte since the government does not need it.

“No, we’re not going to recommend an extension of the ceasefire so we will resume the offensives versus the CPP-NPA. Why do we need a ceasefire? We don’t need a ceasefire with them,” Lorenzana said late Tuesday afternoon.

“Wala naman nangyayari sa ceasefire (Nothing happens with a ceasefire),” he added.

Despite the strong opposition of key security officers, it was President Duterte who approved the nationwide unilateral and reciprocal ceasefire with the communist groups on December 22, 2019.

He said the truce, which took effect from December 23 to January 7, was necessary to build a conducive environment for the formal resumption of the peace talks.

Lorenzana was among the officials who cautioned the President against entering into a ceasefire with the Reds.

He said that the rebels often used the lull to regroup and recruit new fighters.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also refused to extend the period of the ceasefire with Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, the military’s spokesman, claiming that the government lost to the communist groups as the latter violated the truce with their attacks on troops.

Lorenzana said the President was well aware of the sentiments of the security sector.

“He is aware of that but sabi ko nga (like what I have said), I also respect the decision of the President if he wants to talk, ‘yun ang desisyon niya (that’s his decision),” Lorenzana said.

“We abide by the decision of the President if he wants to talk. Ang advise lang namin sa kanya, kasi sabi niya I will only talk one-on-one with [CPP founder Jose Maria “Joma”] Sison here in the Philippines,” he added.

Lorenzana said he advised the President not to go to another country to talk to Sison.

Instead, he said Sison should come home and face the President himself.

“Bakit ayaw niya umuwi dito (Why doesn’t he come home)? Assured naman ‘yung safety niya (His safety is assured) and he can get out safely after the talks. Why doesn’t he come home?