MANILA- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) Friday to be on full alert status after communist rebels terminated their unilateral truce as the coronavirus crisis persists.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año gave the order even as authorities are focused on implementing measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"Government forces should be 100 percent focused to humanitarian efforts at this time and yet we now have to face the violence of these communist terrorists,” he said in a statement.
The Communist Party of the Philippines on Thursday ended its unilateral ceasefire and ordered the New People's Army to transition to an offensive posture.
The communist party had ordered the ceasefire to reciprocate government's ceasefire order as it focused on COVID-19 response but it ended the ceasefire on April 15, citing attacks from rebels. The CPP extended its truce until the end of the Luzon lockdown on April 30.
Año also reminded local government units to be wary of possible attacks from communist rebels and efforts to persuade Filipinos to join the communist movement.
"To the LGUs, be one step ahead. Ipaalam at ipaabot niyo sa inyong constituents ang mga ginagawa at tulong ng lokal at nasyunal na pamahalaan. Nang sa gayun ay hindi masulsulan ng mga komunista ang mga tao," he said.
(Inform your constituents of government efforts in response to the pandemic so that they will not be swayed by communists.)
"Be transparent, accountable, and swift in responding to the needs of your people, both in general and enhanced community quarantine areas,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he was closing his doors to peace negotiations with the rebels and warned that he "might declare martial law" if they continued their attacks on state troops.