Offensives continue

Army says ceasefire order not received yet
THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will still continue conducting military offensive operations against communist rebels as they have yet to receive the order from the higher headquarters on the supposed restoration of ceasefire.

Sec. Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, yesterday posted on his social media account the joint statement between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) on the resumption of the peacetalks.

“We will continue the military operations until there is an official order from our commander-in-chief,” declared AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año.

Gen. Rafael Valencia, the commander of 10th Infantry Division, yesterday told TIMES that they have already read Sec. Dureza’s statement.

However, they have yet to receive any order from their higher officials for the suspension of the military operations.

“So our military offensive operations continue until we receive instruction from higher headquarters to stop it,” said Valencia whose operation mainly covers Davao region.

Valencia said the 10th ID is combating 11 guerilla fronts and three section committees.

He said they are focused on some areas that still have presence of NPAs.

The division covers Davao Region, parts of Region 12 (Sarangani, South Cotabato, Second District of North Cotabato and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat), Trento, Agusan del Sur and Lingig Surigao del Sur, encompasses four Regions, 12 provinces, seven cities, 72 municipalities and 1, 681 barangays.

“During the ceasefire, the NPA consolidated their forces,” Valencia said. “They really took advantage of the ceasefire as they forced the residents to support them.”

He said they noticed the presence of the NPAs in the different areas under their command.

Aside from Davao Oriental, the soldiers are focusing in the areas of Laak in Compostela Valley, New Corella in Davao del  Norte, the boundaries of Bansalan, Davao del Sur and Makilala, Cotabato

Valencia assured that the military will follow the rules of engagement in the conduct of air support during military operations to ensure that there will be no collateral damage on the civilians.

On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte gave his go-signal to the AFP and the Philippine National Police to use all the assets to combat communist groups following the March 8 ambush staged by the NPA that killed four police officers.