MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it is now adjusting its deployment of troops in regions that will remain under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and in areas that will be placed under a general community quarantine (GCQ).
“The President (Rodrigo Duterte) has acted upon and has decided as to which regions and provinces will remain within the coverage of the ECQ and which will now be placed on GCQ, “AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a press statement.
“We will make the necessary adjustments in our troop deployments in coordination with the PNP and the LGUs in accordance with these changes in the coverages of community quarantine,” Arevalo said.
He said the AFP will be at the forefront of its effective implementation in support of the national and local governments.
Meanwhile, the AFP opposed the demand of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, calling for the release of their political prisoners and share power with the government to restart the peace talks.
“We disagree with the demands of the NPA, especially on the release of all of their so-called political prisoners for peace negotiations to proceed and for the CPP-NPA to share power with the government,” he added.
Arevalo said the CPP-NPA should instead stop their extortion activities and other atrocities as frequently stressed by the President.
“Instead we support the position of the President that the NPA should stop their extortion activities, desist from attacking civilian leaders and the communities, and cease attacking soldiers and policemen not involved in combat operations,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
ML warning due to Reds’ atrocities
Arevalo said Duterte’s warning that he might declare Martial Law if lawlessness of the communist rebels persists demonstrates the President’s genuine concern for the welfare of Filipinos.
In a taped address to the nation aired over state-run PTV on Friday, the President was outraged by the recent NPA attacks against government troops who are helping in the distribution of emergency relief to people affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“These, among other atrocities committed by this terrorist group CPP-NPA during this crisis have infuriated the Commander-in-Chief. They prompted him to threaten to declare martial law if these opportunist terrorists will continue to commit their inhumane and criminal acts at this time that we are fighting a pandemic,” he added.
And once the President implements Martial Law, Arevalo said the AFP will implement it in compliance with human rights, existing laws, the provisions of the Constitution.
“Meantime, the AFP is devising new techniques, tactics, and procedures to ensure further that in assisting LGUs, our troops will not fall prey to treacherous attacks by these terrorists NPA,” he added. (PNA)