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In the countryside, the AFP is capable of countering the Reds’ offensive.

MANILA – Following indications that militant groups may launch protest actions on Friday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is more than prepared to resist attacks or violent operations by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the countryside.

“If (the) CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA conducts violent acts outside of Metro Manila, we are also prepared for them.” As you are aware, we are operating in two modes: election and battle. The combat mode is never-ending. In the countryside, we are fighting the CPP-NPA. “We will be able to destroy them soon enough,” AFP spokesperson Army Col. Ramon Zagala stated during a special press conference held by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

He also informed the people that the AFP is in “command of order,”, particularly in relation to the NPA.

“We would support the PNP (Philippine National Police) in operations against any untoward incidence,” Zagala stated.

In addition, the AFP spokesperson stated that they respect some groups’ decision to gather and stage protests in Metro Manila in response to the just-finished elections.

“As I already stated, we have freedom of expression. We respect their right to congregate. According to our information, there will be a rally. “We see no difficulty in the AFP,” Zagala added, emphasizing that the Philippines is a free and democratic country.

However, he stated that individuals taking part in these actions, particularly their commanders, must be informed of the identity of those joining them in order to avoid infiltration by CPP-NPA members and allies.

“However, we want them to be cautious.” Study hard or else ang kasama mo (who your companions are). Freedom of expression is reciprocal. “You have the freedom to speak whatever you want, and we accept that,” an AFP official stated.

In addition, Zagala advised others to respect the views of those who disagree with their own. “Our freedom of expression is not selective; it is available to everyone.” As a result, we’d like to reassure everyone that (the) AFP will uphold the rule of law, support our democratic institutions, and safeguard our Constitution,” he said.

The AFP, according to Zagala, supports the rallyists’ right to free expression and assembly since it promotes the democratic process.

“We think in the AFP that rallyists’ (right to) expression, the right to assemble, expresses our healthy democratic processes, institutions, and rights in a way that other forms of government do not.” So we’ll be ready to help the PNP control these areas, and we have enough forces to do so,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., the PNP officer-in-charge, who was also present at the briefing, said the just finished national and municipal elections were “very, very quiet and normal.”

“We can gladly report that the results of the national and municipal elections are very quiet and normal in comparison to the last national election,” he remarked.

Danao has stated that the people must remain cautious, particularly while attending public meetings when safety and health regulations must be followed.

“Now is another chance to demonstrate kindness by acting responsibly as citizens of this country. “Real democracy is based on respect and discipline, which promotes the general welfare of Filipinos,” he continued.

Col. Jean Fajardo, a spokesperson for the Philippine National Police, stated that the police will always exhibit maximum tolerance.

“Ang mga magbabantay po dito sa gagawing protesta ay to exercise maximum restraint and tolerance nga (PNP OIC Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao already given instruction to cops deployed in protest rally to exercise maximum restraint and tolerance),” she stated at a recent Laging Handa briefing.

The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have all designated the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA as a terrorist group.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) was officially legally labeled as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, identifying it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA, which was established in April 1973.

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