MANILA – Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Saturday urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be “alert and watchful” in the government’s war on terror following the spate of attacks mounted by the New People’s Army (NPA) on government forces in the past few weeks in various parts of the country.
“Our troops must always be alert of any attack, especially ambuscade by the NPA in any part of the country, including Metro Manila,” Ramos said in an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency in Camp Aguinaldo.
Ramos stressed that the military and police must be ready to protect President Rodrigo Duterte as commander-in-chief.
Ramos also expressed concern for the security situation in the country, after the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) bogged down.
The NPA’s recent atrocities, including the killing of a policeman who was shot 73 times and the NPA ambush in Sitio Camansi, Barangay Bolo, Maasin town in Iloilo, dismayed Duterte.
Peace talks between the government and the communist rebels have been on-and-off for more than a decade now with no peace accord reached.
Ramos said government forces must be on guard to thwart rebel attacks, especially with the onset of the Christmas season.
Last week, Duterte told security troops to shoot armed rebels even as an executive order is being prepared to proclaim them as terrorists.
The President has signed Proclamation No. 360 terminating peace negotiations with the NPA.
He told troops of the Philippine Army that he would not allow the military to be at a disadvantage in the war against the NPA, the CPP’s armed wing, which has been waging a protracted Maoist-type of revolutionary warfare for nearly five decades.