AFP: No truce yet

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can’t declare yet if there is a need for a suspension of military operations (SOMO) during the yuletide season.

 “We will still assess the security situation and make the necessary recommendation by that time,” AFP Chief of staff, Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, told TIMES yesterday.

 For now, the military is still intensifying its security operations following series of attacks conducted by the New People’s Army (NPA) in various places in Mindanao.

 This as the Davao City Local Peace Committee (DC-PEACE) is calling for a truce in time for the yuletide celebration thru a cessation of hostilities with communist rebels.

 Mayor Sara Duterte said the DC-PEACE asked her to talk with the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for a possible declaration of SOMO.

 On Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is planning to issue a proclamation to declare the communist rebels as “terrorists.”

 The President also said that he is no longer pursuing peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

 Both the AFP and PNP remained on high alert status as communist rebels reportedly started conducting a series of attacks ahead of CPP’s founding anniversary on Dec. 26.

 Guerrero said they are anticipating intensifying attacks and atrocities by the NPA as December arrives.

 “We have already standing orders to monitor their movement and all units will be on full alert status,” Guerrero said.

 Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, police regional director in Davao, said they already reminded all police officers to be extra vigilant.

 “We all know that during the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines, they conduct tactical offensives and attacks against the government forces and installations,” Gaerlan said.

 “As of this time, we are still on full alert status since the Martial Law is still in effect until Dec. 31 this year,” he said.

 Communist rebels recently staged a series of attacks in Davao and Caraga regions.

 Last Nov. 13, a police officer assigned at the Baguio Police Precinct of Davao City Police Office (DCPO) was killed by NPA hitmen while letting them hitch on his motorcycle in Sitio Luman, Barangay New Valencia, Tugbok district.

 On that day, NPA rebels abducted two police officers at an outpost along the national highway in Barangay Bad-as, Placer, Surigao del Norte.

 The next day, rebels ambushed a mobile patrol, resulting to the death of a four-month-old baby in Talakag, Bukidnon.

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