AFP activates disaster response as Typhoon Quinta lashes Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020   •   203

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has activated all its disaster response units to help in the relief efforts along the path of Typhoon Quinta.

In a statement on Sunday, AFP Spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo announced that AFP Chief-of-Staff, General Gilbert Gapay ordered all units to be prepared for deployment and assist local government units and other relevant agencies in any event of preventive or forced evacuation.

Arevalo added that the AFPCS has also directed all ground commanders in areas along the path of the typhoon to exercise all precautionary measures necessary to ensure the safety of military personnel and equipment including aircraft, ships and other key assets.

Arevalo hopes that all affected residents will heed calls for evacuation and take advantage of the AFP assistance ahead and at the onset of the weather disturbance. MNP / Julie Anne Gernale

BIFF attack in Datu Piang, Maguindanao an isolated case — AFP

Marje Pelayo   •   December 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the incident in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Thursday night (December 3) cannot be likened to the Marawi siege.

According to AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay, the attack that was carried out by members of the militant organization Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) was an isolated case.

“Even another Marawi is highly improbable at this point in time  because we have already learned the lessons of Marawi and we can consider what happened in Datu Piang as an isolated case, and it is really far from another Marawi incident,” Gapay said.

Still, the official calls on the public to remain vigilant and at the same time, cooperate with authorities in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is filing criminal charges against the BIFF members responsible for the attack that damaged public properties.

“The police will file criminal charges against those terrorists responsible for the attack and burning of our patrol car, as we assure the Datu Piang residents of intensified security measures to prevent similar threats posed by violent extremists  in the future,” assured PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas. MNP (with inputs from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte to consider AFP stand against holiday ceasefire with Reds – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the position of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against declaring a ceasefire with communist rebels this holiday season, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte normally “gives a lot of weight” on the recommendations of the military.

“Pakikinggan po ‘yan, but ultimately it’s only the President who will decide,” he said during a press briefing.

AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo earlier said the military will not recommend a holiday truce with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, due to the rebels’ “incapacity for sincerity.”

“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.

“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.

Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support whatever the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte will be despite their position on the matter.

Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020. – RRD (with details from Correspondents Rosalie Coz and Lea Ylagan)

No holiday truce with communist rebels, AFP says

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said it will not recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte a ceasefire with the communist rebels this holiday season.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that many times in the past, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have shown its “incapacity for sincerity” as they allegedly continue with their hostile acts despite the ceasefire declaration.

“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.

“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.

The military official said the communist rebels only venture on peace talks to “give themselves the chance to regroup, refurbish, recruit new members, and recoup their losses.”

Arevalo also claimed that Luis Jalandoni, a National Democratic Front negotiator, had supposedly declared that they push for peace negotiations not really to bring peace but to pursue armed struggle.

“And with these many hard lessons of the past, we will not allow them to trample upon our people’s bona fide desire for peace – not this holiday season – not until we have decisively defeated this menace to society,” he added.

Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte despite their position on the matter.

Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020.

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