Friday, December 23, 2016

Army commander assures Reds they can spend Christmas with kin



From the Website of INQUIRER
links: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/855816/army-commander-assures-reds-they-can-spend-christmas-with-kin

Army commander assures Reds they can spend Christmas with kin

NPA ANNIVERSARY / DECEMBER 27, 2009 Somewhere in the the Mindanao hinterland area on Saturday, Communists New People Army rebels perform a parade display during the celebration of their 41st founding anniversary of Communist Party of the Philippines. The commiunist insurgency in the country is considered as the longest in Asia history.  DENNIS JAY SANTOS / INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY – A military commander who has jurisdiction over provinces where the New People’s Army operates has reassured guerrillas they could celebrate Christmas with their families and be safe from arrests.

Earlier, President Duterte urged NPA rebels to come home and enjoy Christmas with their loved ones.

Lt. Col. Ronnie Babac, commander of the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion based in Malita, Davao Occidental, said NPA rebels going home would not be accosted if they did not carry firearms with them because of the existing truce.


“Take the opportunity of the declared ceasefire between the GRP and CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN – Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” Babac said.

The NPA has not responded as of yet. Emails sent by the Philippine Daily Inquirer to NPA spokespersons remained unanswered as of Thursday.

“This yuletide season, we are welcoming our NPA brothers to take this chance of visiting their loved ones and feel the spirit of Christmas peacefully in their home without fear of being arrested as our unit is in all out support for the ongoing Peace Talks and ceasefire with the CNN,” he added.

Babac’s unit has jurisdiction over Sarangani and Davao del Sur provinces, where the NPA has been accused of staging attacks in recent months, including the recent burning of Yellow Bus units, and last week’s attack on a batching plant in Digos City.

Babac said “With the resumption of the peace talks with the CNN, military activities such as combat operations have discontinued and priority efforts of the unit have shifted to peace and development efforts.”
Despite the truce, the NPA was being accused of staging attacks against companies not giving in to its “extortion demand.”

Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, the Southern Mindanao police chief, said a lot of businessmen have complained to him that “people introducing themselves as NPA rebels” have been asking “Christmas gifts and extra bonus.”

“The catch is if they would not give, their heavy equipment will be burned or businesses harassed,” Gaerlan told reporters here.

He said the police was not immediately concluding that those behind the extortion efforts were indeed rebels.

“But the NPA should issue a statement on these (attacks) because if not, it would appear that it was part of their ideology,” Gaerlan added.

He said to help businessmen feel more secure, the police has coordinated with the military on the conduct of more patrols and other preventive actions.

“But we cannot deploy policemen to each business establishment. Only general protection because if we provide them policemen, we would be accused of favoring one company,” Gaerlan added.  SFM


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