AS HOLIDAY TRUCE ENDS: Expect more intensified combat operations – 3ID

By: Jennifer P. Rendon 

Holiday is over. And so is the suspension of military operations (SOMO).

The end of the ceasefire on Jan. 8, 2019 also signals the resumption of anti-insurgency efforts of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

And for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Panay and Negros islands, “expect more intensified combat operations after the ceasefire,” Captain Cenon Pancito III, 3rd ID spokesperson, said.

Pancito said all of their efforts will be geared towards ending local communist armed conflicts and to fulfill the Visayans’ desire for genuine peace and sustainable development.

During the Yuletide season, Pancito said the rebels took advantage of the situation “to recruit, organize, extort and cast terroristic activities against the people and the government.”

“They did it many times in the past; they did it again during the recent Holiday season,” he said.

Pancito said the NPA’s betrayal is evident after they staged an ambush against PNP personnel in Tubungan, Iloilo on Dec. 23, 2019, a few hours after the government and the CPP-NPA declared the ceasefire.

Two policemen were injured in the incident.

“The government lost, and the people lost, too. The Visayans particularly the Ilonggos were the true victims of the treachery since they were not able to merrily and peacefully celebrate the Yuletide Peace deal intended by the government’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire,” Pancito said.

He added that the CPP-NPA terrorists intentionally ruined the Yuletide Peace deal to show the selfish and deceptive purpose of their ceasefire.

“For them, ceasefire is not about peace. It’s all about struggle and violence as what National Democratic Front (NDF) Chair Luis Jalandoni arrogantly declared that the revolutionary armed struggle is a more important struggle than the peace negotiations,” he said.

Pancito claimed the rebels are not happy seeing the Filipinos enjoying a peaceful Yuletide celebration.

Hence, “they deliberately launched bloody attacks not only in Western Visayas but also in some parts of the country during the duration of the ceasefire,” he said.

Pancito cited the ambush of soldiers returning to camp in compliance with AFP Suspension of Military Operation (SOMO) in Labo, Camarines Norte.

He also pointed out two separate incidents of tribal leaders murdered for refusing to follow the evil dictates of the members of the terrorist group NPA were recorded.



Along with the vow of intensified combat operations, Pancito said he assured they will uphold human rights and the peace process.

“We are also resuming our efforts for localized peace talks. We have proven that localized peace talks are very effective in ending local communist armed conflict,” he said.

Pancito said one proof is the decommissioning of hundreds of Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPP-ABB) members at the 3ID headquarters in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz in September 2019.

In 2019, Pancito said a total of 252 regular NPA members, Militia ng Bayan and supporters in 3ID’s areas of responsibility (Panay, Negros, Bohol and Cebu) abandoned the armed struggle and chose to live in peace, a strong indication that the CPP-NPA is losing.

“Terrorism is coming to its end,” he said.

Until and unless the NPA abandon armed struggle, Pancito said the 3ID is not inclined to recommend any national level truce with the NPAs, whom he labelled as fork-tongued terrorists.