CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City —The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) on Tuesday said there will be “no ceasefire, and no let up” in its operations against the communist terrorist groups.
Lt Gen Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the AFP’s Northern Luzon Command, said military forces deployed in areas north of Metro Manila have been directed that there will be no cessation of hostilities following President Duterte’s pronouncement that ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists will not be declared this year.
Burgos said his soldiers “fully adhere to the President’s decision not to declare a ceasefire because, time and again, the NPA terrorists have been insincere and, instead, used the period to further their terroristic intentions toward the community and the general public.”
He added that NPA terrorists have historically taken advantage of unilateral ceasefires declared by the government in the past by building up their army through forced recruitment, oppressing the people through extortion, and betraying peace by launching attacks against both civilians and military targets.
Burgos said, “we will capitalize on the gains which we have recorded in just a span of five days,” referring to the neutralization of one NPA Regional White Area secretary and two NPA finance officers, “that are on top of the numerous intelligence-driven encounters across northern and central Luzon.”
“We can, and we will crush insurgency in this part of the country within the given timeline which will allow us to completely refocus our efforts in preserving and upholding our sovereignty over every inch of Philippine territory,” he added.
NOLCOM, and the AFP in general, have been promoting localized peace engagements instead of the traditional top-level peace talks saying that the Communist Party of the Philippines and National Democratic Front negotiators no longer enjoy control over the armed NPA fighters on the ground and who have defied the provisions stipulated in previous ceasefire declarations.
“Your soldiers will always be willing to sacrifice our time with our families this Yuletide season in the name of our most solemn mandate as defenders of the north, guardians of our sovereignty, and protectors of the Filipino people,” Burgos said.