Ceasefire with Reds ends; military operations resume

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    THE government and the public “lost” in the 16-day Christmas truce declared by the Duterte administration and the communist group, the military said yesterday, citing atrocities committed by the New People’s Army during the ceasefire period.

    The Yuletide truce ends today. Military operations against the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, resume also today.

    “In the unilateral ceasefire that was declared, the government lost … The people lost, too,” said Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo.

    In the resumption of military operations against the communist rebels, Arevalo said, “They (communists) can expect that combat operations shall resume with more intensity and focus as soon as the clock strikes 12 midnight of 08 Jan 2020 without the need for orders from the new AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.,” said Arevalo.

    The government and the communists declared ceasefires, starting 12 am of December 23 to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, as the two sides worked to revive the formal peace negotiations.

    The Yuletide truce was declared despite earlier pronouncements by top defense and military establishments they are not going to recommend the truce because the rebels abused past ceasefires.

    Arevalo said the rebels twice attacked government forces during the ceasefire period. “The treachery happened a few hours after the NPA declared their unilateral ceasefire,” said Arevalo.

    The first attack was aimed at policemen whose vehicle was bombed by the NPA in Tubungan town in Iloilo on December 23, leaving two policemen wounded and their vehicle damaged.

    One-and-a-half hours later, NPA rebels ambushed Army soldiers in Labo, Camarines Norte while the soldiers were returning to their camp to observe the ceasefire. A soldier died and six others were injured in the attack.

    Arevalo said the rebels also targeted civilians during the ceasefire. One of the attacks, an assassination attempt on December 30, was foiled by government troops after a firefight that left two rebels dead.

    Arevalo said the NPA also killed two tribal leaders in Esperanza town in Agusan del Sur and in Cabanglasan town in Bukidnon on January 1 and January 4.