MANILA –The government forces will carry out all-out war operations against the armed rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA).
This was confirmed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday, February 7, few days after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the suspension of peace talks with the communist groups.
“Yes, it is an all-out war kasi they are considered by the President already as terrorists. We also consider them as terrorists,” Lorenzana said.
He clarified that the all-out offensive will be limited only to the armed component of the rebel group and not to their peaceful supporters.
He said that the military has already started preparing for battle following sporadic skirmishes in Mindoro and several provinces in Mindanao for the past two days.
He stressed that NPA rebels are considered as threat to national security as they continue to attack government troops and to terrorize communities such as extorting money from businessmen.
Lorenzana, meanwhile, assured the public that the military will take the high road to ensure that no human rights abuses will happen during operations against armed rebels.
“We will see to it that those abuses will not be committed again. It is bad for the image of the military. Alam mo nawawalan ng kredibilidad ‘yung military pagka umaabuso sila. And we try to avoid that,” he said.
The DND chief also said the authorities are ready to execute the order of the President to arrest the leaders of the communist groups once they return to the country.
Lorenzana, meanwhile, denied accusations that the military was out to sabotage the peace negotiations saying that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has also been longing for peace with communist insurgents just like President Duterte
“We want peace. We do not want to sabotage. We support the peace process that was initiated by the President,” he said.
During the same briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that the state weather agency has acquired two Doppler radars.
“PAGASA gets two Doppler radars for Cagayan and Samar, which will be used for—which will be helpful and be used for monitoring and tracking weather systems,” he said.
Abella likewise mentioned that President Duterte’s micro fund program will pilot-run this month, a project under the Department of Trade and Industry.
“We commend the Department of Trade and Industry in addressing the government’s concern to get rid of “5-6” money lending system by launching the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program (P3) in the provinces of Mindanao, Sarangani and Leyte,” he said.
The Palace official said the amounts will be ranging from 5,000 to 300,000, which can be accessed by entrepreneurs, 26 percent per annum with no collateral requirements.
Abella also thanked Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Japan’s largest bank, for its bullish outlook on the Philippine economy.