The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) condemns the alleged atrocities being committed by the New People’s Army (NPA) against government troops.
The AFP particularly zeroed in on the killings of six soldiers this month.
In a press conference on Friday afternoon, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said, three soldiers in Bukidnon were brutally killed by the communist rebels last Wednesday as the victims were engaging in community development projects.
Padilla reported, 27 bullets were pumped into the body of one of the troopers.
The second soldier died after sustaining 24 gunshot wounds, while at least 24 bullet marks were found in the remains of the third fallen soldier.
Padilla is basing his statements from the report of the PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).
He also said, three other soldiers are still in the custody of the NPAs.
He noted, the NPAs’ withdrawal of its ceasefire declaration will take effect on January 10 this year and yet, the rebel group has launched 18 attacks against government troops.
Padilla announced, all AFP units are ordered to raise their alert status and be ready to defend themselves.
“Inaatasan ang mga sundalo na ilagay ang mga sarili sa heightened alert (soldiers are being ordered to put themselves on heightened alert). We are ready to act in response to any information that will put our men in danger,” Padilla announced.
He also said, the AFP is calling on the nation to remember the soldiers who were killed by the NPAs this month.
“The armed forces are recommending a national day of mourning” for the fallen soldiers, he stated.
Padilla stressed, the AFP recognizes President Rodrigo Duterte’s desire to find lasting peace in Mindanao by holding peace talks with the communist rebels.
For this goal, the AFP has no plans of seeking the withdrawal of the ceasefire declared by the Chief Executive.
The killing of the 3 soldiers took place in Barangay Kibalabag in Malaybalay City at about 5 pm of February 1, 2017 or just hours after the NPA announced it was lifting its unilateral ceasefire previously declared in August last year.