AFP declares red alert as NPA marks 46th founding anniv PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 28 March 2015 11:48

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has declared a nationwide red alert, the highest security alert status ahead of the celebration of the 46th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Sunday.

In a statement, AFP Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said government troops are not allowed to leave their stations during the red alert, which will be in effect from Saturday noon until Monday noon.

Cabunoc said that the military is declaring a red alert because the communists  rebels traditionally launch attacks on government installations and communities, especially those that oppose the group, to mark their anniversary.

“We will take preemptive measures to thwart their evil plans such as mounting violent attacks against communities and government installations,” Cabunoc said.

AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang ordered the declaration of the red alert on the recommendation of the office of the AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence due to threats posed by the NPA rebels.

On Thursday noon, NPA rebels ambushed the convoy of Agusan del Norte governor Angel Amante-Matba in Northern Mindanao after the inauguration of a school in Barangay  Mimbahandi in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. One of her police escorts, PO1 Vincent Ubouzet, was wounded in the attack.

Cabunoc said the governor’s security escorts fought with NPA rebels, who later withdrew with an undetermined number of casualties. There were no casualties on the part of the government.

He added that the ambush on Matba, who he said is a government supporter in the fight against the communists, may be part of the NPA’s celebration of its anniversary.

“That’s possible because the launching of (rebel) attacks is not necessarily on the same day, but days leading to that anniversary. They want to show that they are still a force to reckon with,” said Cabunoc.

Meanwhile, a soldier was killed in an ambush launched by suspected NPA rebels in North Cotabato on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Jose Rustia, 57th Infantry Battalion commander, condemned the crime, especially since the victim, who was the head of an outreach mission, was in civilian clothes.