No Xmas truce from Reds

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    THE Communist Party of the Philippines yesterday ordered the New People’s Army to step up offensives on government targets as it announced it is not going to declare a Christmas ceasefire with the government.

    The CPP announcement came a week after President Duterte announced he is not going to declare the traditional yuletide truce, and all through the remainder of his term which ends in June 2022.

    “In the face of the vicious attacks by Duterte’s military and police forces both in the cities and countryside, the CPP Central Committee is forced to dispense with the traditional holiday ceasefire this year,” the CPP Central Committee said in a statement.

    It said the Armed Forces has taken advantage of CPP-declared Christmas ceasefires to “mount offensives against units doing health campaigns and other public service.”

    A similar accusation was hurled earlier by the Armed Forces against the communists, saying the NPA rebels use government-declared ceasefires to rebuild their dwindling strength.

    National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said in a briefing the Armed Forces and

    the PNP will be on alert for NPA attacks.
    Esperon also said there is nothing new with the threat of the communists to stage attacks, saying the communists have long been doing that.

    If they are going to carry out attack, government forces are ready, he added.

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, sought for comment on the CPP’s no-truce pronouncement, said, “It’s okay because we did not also declare a ceasefire.”

    He added: “To me, they were at an advantage during past ceasefires. They can resupply, they can regroup, they can again go to the barangays and recruit members. Let us not talk about ceasefire if that is what they are doing.”

    Lorenzana belied the claim of the CPP that soldiers were attacking NPA rebels while government was observing its Christmas truce. On the contrary, he said, it was the NPA which launched attacks against government troops.

    “All our troops are in the barracks, they’re inside their camps or detachments, not moving around,” said Lorenzana.

    Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said the CPP’s announcement not to declare a Christmas truce is no longer important to the military.

    “It’s immaterial whether the communist terrorist group declares a holiday ceasefire or not.

    They have been consistently and treacherously violating that after all,” said Arevalo.

    The CPP, which will observe its 52nd anniversary on December 26, said in the statement that the NPA “can carry out tactical offensives especially against attacking troops of the enemy, particularly those who have perpetrated massacres and extrajudicial killings and who are notorious for grave abuses and violations of human rights.”

    The CPP also urged party committees, NPA units and mass organizations to “carry out secret meetings and assemblies” whenever and wherever possible to mark the anniversary.