PNP on high alert vs. Reds nationwide offensive

MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is on high alert as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) threatened to mount a nationwide offensive in response to another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao.

PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said police maneuver forces have been put on high alert for any possible tactical engagement with communist terrorist elements, who have been ordered to escalate attacks on government and prized civilian targets.

Albayalde said the police mobile strike forces were earlier deployed to 10 provinces in Eastern Visayas, Negros Island and Bicol region and have linked-up with their AFP counterparts in an active defense posture to strengthen community defenses against the New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed wing.

He said the latest order of CPP founding chairman Joma Sison to the NPA exposed anew the culture of lies, deception and violence of the aging underground movement in its 50-year rebellion to grab power from government.

“The CPP/NPA has found a convenient excuse in the Congressional approval of the martial law extension in Mindanao as reason to stage further hostilities against government and civilian targets even as it earlier declared a farce five-day Yuletide ceasefire to trick government into reciprocating the CPP/NPA sham gesture of goodwill,” the PNP chief said in a statement sent to reporters.

“We urge our people to maintain vigilance and not be intimidated by this vain attempt by the CPP/NPA to salvage its waning reputation and regain lost support of the masses that they continue to terrorize and oppress,” he noted.

Albayalde said that while the PNP maintains a stiff and decisive stance against the CPP/NPA, it is keeping the doors open to all rebels deceived by the false promise of a just society under communist rule, and now want to lead normal lives with their families.

“We gladly welcome them into the folds of the law to enjoy the blessings of democracy in a free state. We call on them to lay down their arms and come home to spend Christmas with their families,” said Albayalde.

“The government is offering a life-changing opportunity for individual rebel returnees through a livelihood package with added compensation for surrendered firearms under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP, the strategic flagship program to pursue the government’s peace and development agenda,” Albayalde stressed.

The CPP ceasefire is slated to begin at 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 24 to 11:59 p.m. of Dec. 26; and at 12:01 a.m. of Dec. 31 to 11:59 p.m. of January 1, 2019.

The military and the police rejected the CPP’s ceasefire declaration as farce and instead placed policemen and soldiers under heightened alert.