The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police have supported President Duterte’s pronouncement to rule out declaring any ceasefire with communists during his term.
“We are thankful to the Commander-in-Chief for heeding the AFP’s recommendation not to declare ceasefire this holiday season and beyond,” AFP spokesperson Marine Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a press statement on Tuesday.
“[It is] not because we do not want peace, but because what we advocate is a genuine and lasting peace that we cannot achieve through a peace pact with the NPA (New People’s Army) that is notoriously insincere and unworthy of public trust,” Arevalo added.
The AFP previously recommended to the President not to declare a traditional holiday ceasefire with the communists, citing rebels’ lack of sincerity in respecting the holiday truce with their continued crimes.
The government usually declares a ceasefire with the communist-led rebels during the Christmas holidays, which is reciprocated by the rebels.
However, in a televised address on Monday night, President Duterte declared to forego any ceasefire with rebel groups, not only this Christmas season but also for the rest of his term.
For the part of the police force, PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas said that they are supporting Duterte’s declaration and will remain on “defense mode” with or without a ceasefire.
“Same pa rin ang deployment natin kahit pa may (Our deployment is still the same even there is) SOMO (Suspension of Offensive Military and Police Operations). We are just on the defense mode,” Sinas said in a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Tuesday.
According to Sinas, the PNP will continue to deploy authorities and pursue operations against rebels.
“Tuloy pa rin ang operations natin, tuloy ang deployment natin sa identified areas kung saan nakatago ang mga armado. Tuloy po iyon at walang withdrawal. Kung nasa bundok sila (rebels), ang tropa natin ay nasa bundok din. Wala pong changes,” he added.
(Our operations will continue, our deployment will continue especially in identified areas where the armed rebels are hiding. It will continue, there will be no withdrawal. If the rebels are in the mountains, our troops will also be in the mountains. There will be no changes.)