The Philippine government declares “all-out war” against the New People’s Army (NPA). Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza announced the decision Tuesday, Februry 7. Lorenzana made it clear state troops will target armed communist rebels but spare their peaceful supporters. The defense chief compared NPA members to the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) and said, “It is an all-out war because they are considered by the president already as terrorists.” He claimed the rebels have been harassing local communities and extorting money from businessmen.
Government troops have been preparing for confrontations with the NPA following recent clashes mainly in the regions of Mindoro and Mindanao. Tuesday also marked Manila’s termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA) and its NPA branch. A 6-month old ceasefire between the NPA and the government collapsed earlier this month. The NPA accuses President Duterte administration of failing to deliver on its promises.