Army’s unit not keen on Holiday truce with rebels

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

First things first.

The declaration of ceasefire depends solely on the powers of the commander in chief. In our case, it’s President Rodrigo Duterte.

As such, “any decision made by the Palace will be followed,” Captain Cenon Pancito III, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said.

However, “if we have our ways, we are not keen of declaring ceasefire with the terrorist New People’s Army during the Christmas Season,” Pancito added.

He cited that the guidance of Brigadier General Eric Vinoya, 3rd ID commander, is relentless pursuit operations against the NPAs in Western and Central Visayas.

“This is because we believe that the current efforts of your Philippine Army are gaining success in liberating the two regions from rebel influence,” he said.

Putting the pressure on the NPA fighters will only allow the army to dictate the operational tempo but also deliver decisive engagements against the rebels, Pancito said.

“Also, we have known this group to be very deceptive and we don’t want them to take advantage of the ceasefire for them to regroup, consolidate, and launch tactical offensives against government installations and projects in the area,” he said.

Pancito believed that if they won’t loosen their drive it will likewise increase demoralization in most of the NPA fighters who felt abandoned by their leadership who are currently enjoying the Christmas Season while they battle hardships away from their families.

It can be noted that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has junked the idea of declaring a ceasefire with the NPAs in the advent of the Christmas season.

Lorenzana believed that the suspension of military operations (SOMO) might work to the advantage of the rebels.

He said this would give the NPA an opportune time to recruit, as the pursuing soldiers would be at rest.

Lorenzana said it’s always the military that are following the ceasefire while the rebels work their way to villages to increase their power.

He also warned the communist group that there will be a relentless anti-insurgency campaign.