AFP to NPA: We will hit them hard

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DAVAO CITY,  Philippines (February 3)—Taking the cudgels for his fallen men, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año today vowed to run after the  communist rebels and will hit them hard.

Año issued the statement after  President Rodrigo Duterte publicly announced the lifting of the  government’s unilateral ceasefire.

This as the New People’s Army announced they launched 20 operations and is now holding five soldiers in captivity while four have been filled since February 1.

Hours ago, during teh inauguration of solar irrigation in New Janiuay, Mlang, Cotabato province, Duterte announced the lifting of the government’s ceasefire saying the rebel group has been asking too much.

It pains the commander-in-chief to lift the truce but he said he is hurt as many of his men were killed during the last 48-hours.

In announcing the lifting of the ceasefire, Duterte who was  sober said “Because I lost so many soldiers in just 48 hours, I think to continue with the ceasefire does not or will not produce anything.”

“Therefore, I am asking the soldiers: go back to camp, clean your rifles, and be ready to fight. I am sorry but that’s how it is,” he added.

Año, in a statement said they welcome the pronouncement of the President  “because the AFP has to do its mandate of protecting the people, securing the community and taking care of our own soldiers too.”

He vowed “We will go after the NPA to prevent them from conducting atrocities and criminal activities against the public. And we will hit them hard!”

The statement added  “The last four days were disdainful and disturbing. While Fidel Agcaoilli was assuring the public through media that NDF CPP NPA will continue the unilateral ceasefire,  the CPP-NPA were attacking our soldiers who were doing community support and development work,” he said.

He said the attacks resulted in the deaths of 2Lt Miguel Victor Alejo and 5 soldiers, mostly unarmed, and the abduction of Pfc Erwin Salan and two other soldiers.

Despite this, Año said that they will continue to support the government’s peace efforts.

“We hear the people’s clamor for peace and are willing to work hard to attain it but it is unfortunate that the CPP NPA NDF chooses to play deaf,” he added.

Año said it is unfortunate that the gains of the last six months would come to a halt because the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army again resorted to the use of violence and chose arms to advance their interests.

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