Lorenzana says NPA will not be targeted as martial law imposed in Mindanao
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said martial law in Mindanao will not target the New People's Army (NPA) but noted that any rebel who will be involved in illegal acts will be held accountable.
“We would like to make it clear that in the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not specifically target the New People's Army as alleged by NDF chief consultant Jose Maria Sison,” Lorenzana said.
“Let me emphasize, however, that members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) New People’s Army (NPA) who will engage in criminal and illegal acts such as kidnapping, extortion, murder, and the destruction of property will be dealt with or without martial law,” he added.
Lorenzana said the military will protect the human right of every law-abiding citizen in Mindanao despite declaration of martial law.
“We will fully comply with the directives of the President that martial law was declared to address radical Islamic terrorism and narco-terrorism in Mindanao. We are conducting our operations in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human life,” he said.
“Law-abiding citizens in Mindanao need not fear the increased military presence and activities in their localities. Government security forces are there to protect the populace, maintain peace and order and go after criminal elements,” Lorenzana added.
Lorenzana warned the rebel group to stop its illegal activities and not to be part of the current security conflict in the area.
“I just want to clarify may message to CPP-NPA. Do not be part of the armed conflict that is happening now in Mindanao. Do not force the government’s hand,” he said.
“Immediately stop all illegal activities and abide by the true spirit of the peace process. This is the only way we can move forward,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS