AFP orders troops on alert as CPP anniversary nears
by Mike Crismundo
Butuan City – The higher area command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ordered all field unit commanders to step up their combat and security operations as the founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) draws near.
The Northeastern and Northern Mindanao Fourth Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) also ordered field unit commanders and its operational control (Opcon) unit commanders to strengthen their respective headquarters defense perimeter to avert surprise attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the CPP.
The AFP is not ruling out intense tactical offensives by the NPA to mark the 45th anniversary celebration of the CPP on Dec. 26.
Maj. Gen. Oscar T. Lactao, commanding general of the 4th ID, also ordered field unit commanders to extend ample security assistance to rural businesses, government’s ongoing construction projects and key communication, power and water system facilities to prevent any saboteurs.
“Our best defense is always the best offense and our main mission is to protect our constituents,” stressed Lactao.
The top AFP area commander, who witnessed the graduation of new civilian volunteers in Loreto town, Agusan del Sur, also ordered field unit commanders to stop forced taxation allegedly being imposed on villagers and businesses by the NPAs.
Field unit commanders in Northeastern and Northern Mindanao expressed belief that the NPAs might mount terror attacks to show to the new leadership of both the Army and police that they are still “a force to reckon with.”
On Sept. 10, Lactao assumed his post as 4th ID chief while Chief Supt. David Y. Ombao took over as Police Regional Office 13 regional director last Nov. 4.
“It is already routine on their part to keep an eye on any possible terroristic activities that the armed group might carry out especially this time of the year,” said 401st Brigade commander Col. Gregory Cayetano, adding “We still hope for a peaceful Yuletide celebration”.
In another development, the regional command of PRO 13 yesterday assured the families of three abducted policemen in Surigao del Norte that the PNP will work double time and exert all efforts to rescue them.