TACLOBAN CITY – Soldiers in Eastern Visayas is ready to fight the New People’s Army (NPA) this holiday season following President Rodrigo Duterte’s rejection of ceasefire, an official of the Philippine Army said on Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said holiday or not, the military is always ready for a gun battle with the communist terrorist group.
“The NPA should be the one to be afraid since we are the government and we have strong forces. We will show them how it is like to celebrate Christmas without a ceasefire,” Diñoso told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone interview.
The official lauded the President for heeding the recommendations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to declare a ceasefire between government forces and the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
President Duterte said he will not declare a ceasefire “ever again” with the NPA for the rest of his term.
“There will be no ceasefire ever again under my term pagka-Presidente (as President). For all intents and purposes, ‘yung (the) ceasefire is dead,” Duterte said in his televised talk to the people late Monday night.
Diñoso said the no ceasefire holiday will further weaken the NPA who have been demonstrating insincerity in previous agreements.
“If there’s a ceasefire, they don’t follow the provisions. They take the ceasefire to their advantage instead of celebrating Christmas,” he added.
In Eastern Visayas, the military has already dismantled four guerrilla fronts of the NPA since 2019 in Leyte and Samar provinces. Up for dismantling are five fronts in Northern Samar and Eastern Samar provinces.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)