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Military resumes offensive against Red rebels
By Manolo B. Jara January 04, 2018
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MANILA: A senior military commander on Wednesday announced the resumption of their offensive operations against the communist New People’s Army (NPA) with the expiration of the unilateral ceasefire declared by the government and the rebels for the Christmas season and the New Year.

“This is the best time to end this problem and let our country develop and improve the lives of our people,” said Major Noel Clement, the head of the Army’s 10h Infantry Division based in Mindanao.

In a separate statement, Arsenio Andolong, the defense department spokesman, echoed Clement’s statement, pointing out that communist insurgency remained a priority concern of the military to bring peace and help hasten the country’s economic development.

“Some local economies,” Andolong noted, “are not prospering because of the activities of terrorists, especially those engaged in kidnapping, arson and extortion.”

Andolong was apparently referring to the NPA, the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for close to 50 years, considered the longest in Asia and the Pacific.

According to the military, the NPA strength has been sharply reduced to only 3,800 nationwide compared to the 24,000 they enjoyed from the ‘80s to the ‘90s..

In late 2017, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte declared the CPP-NPA as “terrorist organisations” for their unabated attacks on civilian facilities like mining and other firms as well as on military and police outposts.

Duterte denounced such Maoist attacks and their extortion activities in the guise of collecting “revolutionary taxes” occurred while their representatives were talking peace with the government in Oslo, Norway which has been brokering the negotiations.

Officials also noted that the Maoists continued their attacks in violation of the unilateral ceasefire declared by both sides while the military and the police, on Duterte’s order, retained their defensive posture and did not launch offensive operations against them.

In this light, Harry Roque, the presidential spokesman, challenged the Maoists to “prove their good faith” if they wanted to resume the peace talks cancelled by Duterte.

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