AFP to comply with human rights rules during anti-NPA operations

MANILA -- Despite the government decision to lift its ceasefire Friday, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo AAo assured the public it will comply with human rights regulations in the conduct of its operations.

In the same vein, he disclosed that all military units have human rights offices, in all command levels, to ensure that their troops comply with the above-mentioned rules.

"Our soldiers will not violate any human rights and we will observe the rule of law, (and any military personnel accused of such violations) will be made to answer (their) charges," AAo stressed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the lifting of the government ceasefire in wake of unprovoked New People's Army (NPA) attacks which left six troopers dead and three others abducted last week.

"We have enough forces, we will asses everything before we will make any troop movement or any adjustment," the AFP chief earlier said.

AAo added that he has been in contact with all military commanders in Eastern Mindanao and that all of the latter are now aware of what they need to do.

"They know already what to do because when we (had) our command conference early last month (part of the) contingency planning is what the military will do in case peace negotiations fail or should the NPA decide to withdraw their ceasefire," he added.

AAo also placed the number of NPA combatants in the entire country at 3,700 with half of them operating in Eastern Mindanao.

He said that this is the reason why the AFP is focusing on community development programs in the countryside, especially those with Indigenous Peoples, so that the rebels will be denied additional recruits.

And with the lifting of the government ceasefire, the AFP chief said that they can now plan rescue operations aimed at recovery three of the soldiers abducted in Surigao Del Norte and Sultan Kudarat early this week.

"Before (unilateral ceasefire) has prevented us from conducting rescue operations, now we plan and conduct operations," AAo said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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