President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday ordered the military to stay alert even with his declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA).
Speaking before members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Nakar in Lucena City, Duterte expressed his disappointment at the NPA ambush on a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Davao del Norte that resulted in the death of a CAFGU member and the wounding of four others.
“If we cannot honor a ceasefire, let’s just fight!” Duterte said.
During his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-National Democratic Front (NDF)-NPA as a sign of the government’s goodwill towards the realization of a peace agreement with the rebels.
But after the July 27 ambush, Duterte gave the NPA up to midnight on July 28 to explain the attack or else he would not push through with the resumption of peace talks scheduled next month.
He also called on the NPA to investigate and discipline those responsible for the incident.
Duterte said just as government law enforcers who commit infractions are meted penalties, so must punishment be imposed on erring members of the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the National Democratic Front (NDF).