DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Army spokesperson Capt. Rhyan Batchar said the government’s anti-insurgency campaign against the New People’s Army remains unabated despite the ongoing Marawi seige.
“It was not affected significantly, actually nadagdagan lang ang trabaho namin” (we just had additional tasks), Batchar told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.
Batchar, who speaks for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, revealed on Tuesday that they have killed six guerrillas, received 106 surrenderees, recovered 66 high powered firearms and recovered 57 improvised explosive devices since January 2017.
Recently, Batchar said they recovered several carbine and M16 rifles and grenade launchers in Malita. They were also able to recover M16 and M14 rifles in Baganga.
Batchar said the arms caches were revealed to them by former guerrillas.
This despite government pronouncements saying that peace inclined groups such as the NPA are not targets of Martial Law.
In a previous press conference in Davao City, Martial Law spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla said they will be implementing the law uniformly regardless of affiliations.
“While we maintain that martial law does not target peace-inclined groups, we will enforce the law uniformly,” he said.
Padill said the burning of equipment, and skirmishes against government troops by the NPA are likewise violations of the law.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines has announced its order for its armed units to help government troops in fighting against Maute forces in Marawi.
“The NDFP has already instructed the Moro Revolutionary Liberation Organization (MRLO) inside Marawi to assume home defense tasks against the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups. It has also directed units of the New People’s Army close to Marawi to redeploy for the purpose of mopping up, holding and blocking operations,” said NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Fidel Agcaoili.
However, Agcaoili stressed that the NDFP and government negotiating panels must first meet to discuss the ground rules of coordination and cooperation, if it cannot withdraw its martial law declaration altogether.
“To accomplish ceasefire, coordination and cooperation between the forces of the GRP and the NDFP within Marawi against the aforesaid terrorist groups, the GRP must at best unilaterally withdraw its all-out war policy and martial law declaration or at least allow its negotiating panel to meet with the NDFP negotiating panel to start discussing coordination and cooperation in Marawi and subsequently on a wider scale,” he said.(davaotoday.com)AFP, Batchar, CPP, duterte, Eastern Mindanao Command AFP, Martial Law, Mindanao, NDF, NPA, philippines