NPAs have to stop attacks if they are interested in peace — AFP

MANILA — If they are really sincere in resuming peace negotiations, then the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels should stop making unprovoked attacks against civilian and military targets.

“If the NPAs are really sincere and one with the National Democratic Front (NDF) in their intent to resume the talks with government, they should start manifesting their intention by putting a stop to their terroristic activities which continue to harm our citizens and halt development in the communities,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said Sunday.

He made this statement as insurgents continue to conduct arson and harassment attacks against legitimate business operators and government troops despite the announcement of the Government of the Philippines and NDF pronouncement on restarting peace talks in The Netherlands.

Several NPA arson attacks were recorded by the AFP last week, including the torching of a commercial transport bus in Makilala, North Cotabato last March 13 and gutting of delivery van owned by Fighter Wine Company in San Fernando, Bukidnon, also in the same day.

Other incidents of harassment includes the series of NPA attacks in Barangay Hinimbangan, Kitcharao in Agusan Del Norte which displaced 89 families last March 15.

“While the AFP sees that the NDF continues to push for the resumption of the peace negotiations, it is clear that they are also losing hold of their men on the ground. The NPA, with their twisted ideals are attacking innocent civilians, extorting money or burning private properties,” Arevalo stressed.

As of this posting, the NPAs have already conducted 62 terroristic activities since the start of the year.

These include abduction, burning or arson, extortion, ambush and harassment against both civilians and military members.

“On our part, we will continue to conduct combat operations against the terrorist NPAs until we receive an official communication from the Office of the President suspending the all-out war. Our surgical, deliberate, and intelligence-driven operations have so far resulted to the neutralization of 129 NPAs; of which, 23 were killed, 19 were arrested and 87 surrendered,” the AFP public affairs office chief stressed.

“At present, the operations against the NPA already yielded 83 firearms from the NPA; 22 were surrendered while 61 were recovered during operations. The casualties on our side are now at 53, of which 14 were killed in action, 36 were wounded, and three were abducted,” he added.