The Department of the Interior and the Local Government (DILG) on Friday has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be on full alert after the ceasefire declared by communist rebels amid the COVID-19 heath crisis ended on April 30.
Following the end of the ceasefire, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) ordered its fighters to transition from an active defense posture to an offensive posture.
“Hindi na talaga maitatago ng mga teroristang komunista na hindi ang kapakanan ng taumbayan ang hangad nila kung hindi ang pgapatay sa mga kapwa-Pilipino, ang patuloy na pananabotahe sa kapayapaan at sa pag-usbong ng ating bansa,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, a former military chief of staff, said in a statement.
“Government forces should be 100 percent focused to humanitarian efforts at this time and yet we now have to face the violence of these communist terrorists,” he said.
Año deemed as hoax the claim of the communist group that they were exerting efforts in facilitating the distribution of relief aid for the masses.
“It is not the lockdown that will slide down the country but you communist terrorists who remain to be a menace to local and national peace and order and thus impede progressive efforts of the government and civil society,” he said.
In a separate statement, the CPP-NPA said they decided not to extend the ceasefire declaration due to “the refusal of the Duterte regime to relent in its attacks against the NPA, despite calls for a ‘global ceasefire.'”
The CPP had extended the ceasefire until April 30 after the national government extended the enhanced community quarantine, which was supposed to lapse on April 12, for two more weeks to address the COVID-19 threat.
The CPP maintained that all units of the NPA have observed the ceasefire and have desisted from mounting any tactical offensives.
Año also reminded local government units to be wary of possible attacks from communist rebels and efforts to persuade Filipinos to join the communist movement.
“To the LGUs, be one step ahead. Ipaalam at ipaabot niyo sa inyong constituents ang mga ginagawa at tulong ng lokal at nasyunal na pamahalaan. Nang sa gayun ay hindi masulsulan ng mga komunista ang mga tao (Inform your constituents of government efforts in response to the pandemic so that they will not be swayed by communists.),” he said.
“Be transparent, accountable, and swift in responding to the needs of your people, both in general and enhanced community quarantine areas,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he was closing his doors to peace negotiations with the rebels and warned that he “might declare martial law” if they continued their attacks on state troops./Stacy Ang