Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured on Thursday that security forces are prepared to fend off attacks by the New People's Army, which has been directed to intensify its offensives after martial law was extended anew in Mindanao.
"Hindi naman bago ito. With or without any order from the CPP-NPA they have been hitting us. Our troops are always ready to face them," Lorenzana told reporters in an interview.
The Communist Party of the Philippines has ordered rebels "to mount tactical offensives across the country," saying that all NPA units must exert all possible effort to "punish the worst fascist units and officers of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)."
Meanwhile, for AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, this only proves that the military was correct in its decision not to declare a ceasefire with communists this holiday season.
"Kaya tama ang naging kapasyahan ng pamunuan ng Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas na huwag mag deklara ng tigil-putukan dahil alam namin na isa na naman itong patibong o kaya naman gagawin na naman nila itong issue laban sa AFP," Arevalo said.
"Natuto na tayo sa kanilang mga kasinungalingan at propaganda," he added.
Arevalo said security forces are not downplaying the threats made by communist rebels.
"Hindi natin binabalewala ang mga pagbabantang 'yan. Mas pinag-iingat natin ang mga tropa ng pamahalaan sa mga ganyang pag-atake," Arevalo said.
"Nasa mataas tayong alert level... hindi dahil sa banta na 'yan kung hindi sa pag-alalay sa PNP (Philippine National Police) sa sandaling kailanganin nila ang tulong mula sa AFP," Arevalo added.
The military spokesman also claimed that the only motive of the communists is to bring hostilities across the country.
"Gumagawa lang sila ng dahilan upang maisulong ang tunay naman na nilang hangarin: ang magsagawa ng pag-atake at panggugulo," Arevalo said. —Anna Felicia Bajo/ LDF, GMA News