PH military on 'full alert' on CPP's 49th anniversary

MANILA, Phliippines – The Christmas ceasefire has not expired but the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is on full alert on Tuesday, December 26, as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrates its 49th founding anniversary. 

"The AFP is on full alert and vigilant for possible CPP-NPA attacks on our people and vulnerable communities. Their celebration is usually accompanied by armed attacks against the people that reflect the CPP-NPA's true color as a criminal organization void of any ideology," military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo said in a statement on Tuesday. 

The CPP also declared a Christmas ceasefire but it will expire by 6 pm on Tuesday. The military's Suspension of Military Operations or SOMO will expire at midnight. Both sides also declared another ceasefire for the New Year. 

Clashes beween the military and the communist News People's Army have intensified since President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled anew the on-again-off-again peace talks aimed at ending the armed struggle.

As Duterte began a process to declare the CPP and the NPA as "terrorist organizations," the communist rebels were also added as new targets of the military in the expanded martial law in Mindanao. 

"The CPP-NPA-NDF lost its ideogical mooring and all its actions reflect a terrorist organization rather than what they claim to be. It is in this light that we call on their members to take a good look at their organization and reflect deeply so that they may be able to decide to come back into the fold of the law, be with their families, and become productive citizens of the community," said Arevalo.

"The AFP will abide by the government's SOMO and will maintain active defense posture nationwide to thwart any atrocity, deception, and sabotage that the CPP-NPA is planning to stage," Arevalo said.

The CPP is responsible for Asia's longest-running communist insurgency. Duterte aimed but failed to complete an agreement by the second year of his term. – Rappler.com