The military has intensified its operations around the country in its effort to prevent any attempt by the New People’s Army to conduct “tradisional” attacks aimed at marking the rebel group’s 40th foundation anniversary next Thursday, March 29.
“The AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippine] is intensifying [its] efforts to thwart possible attacks and atrocities by the NPA in line with their upcoming anniversary. The occasion is usually marked by their attacks against our people and vulnerable communities,” military spokesman Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin Jr. said.
He noted that, in the past, the rebels carried out hostilities, such as raids, ambuscades and sabotage against government troops, on public establishments and vital installations that had severely affected innocent civilians.
“These attacks against our people are terroristic in nature and clear reflection of their true color as a criminal and terrorist organization,” Datuin said.
The AFP spokesman also blamed the communists for causing so much disturbance in the National Capital Region (NCR) by staging protest rallies.
“In the NCR, they have staged rallies and protest actions that caused massive traffic that affected motorists and commuters. They have repeatedly done such actions that disturbed the peace of the place and pestered law-abiding citizens,” he said.
While there are no identified NPA members participating in anti-government rallies in Metro Manila, rally participants belong to groups cozy with the Left.
On Tuesday Malacañang was forced to cancel classes in all levels in Metro Manila as a preemptive action against the protest of jeepney drivers allied with public transport group Piston.
“Our forces will continue to be on a proactive stance against all threats of violence and will exert every effort to preserve the peace in every locality,” Datuin said.
“The fight against terrorism and the preservation of peace is a shared responsibility of everyone,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines doubted whether slain Bicol revolutionary leader Joey Fajardo really engaged security forces in a firefight.
The military said Fajardo, alias Ka Owen, 55, engaged government forces in a shootout on March 16 in Naga City wherein he was killed, along with Liza Beriso Ocampo, a longtime migrant worker from Dubai.
Ocampo, according to a statement of the central committee of the CPP, owned the house where Fajardo was temporarily staying in.
“He was in Naga City to seek medical attention after suffering what medics believe was a mild-stroke a little more than a week ago,” the CPP said. “It is highly doubtful that Fajardo, in his condition, could engage in any sort of firefight with a combined military and police force.”
“Based on our own information, Fajardo was unarmed while he went on medical leave. Ocampo, on the other hand, was a mere good samaritan who provided shelter to Fajardo through the intercession of common friends,” the CPP added.
The military has identified Ka Owen as the head of the CPP’s Bicol regional committee.