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DND chief: Martial Law not targeting NPA

The Department of National Defense said yesterday that Martial Law is not targeting the New People’s Army in Mindanao.

“We would like to make it clear that in the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not specifically target the New People’s Army as alleged by NDFP Chief Consultant Jose Maria Sison,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

“We will fully comply with the directives of the President that Martial Law was declared to address radical Islamic terrorism and narco-terrorism in Mindanao,” Lorenzana added.

Lorenzana said that they are conducting their operations against the Maute Group in Marawi City in accordance with the rule of law and respect for human life.

He reiterated that law-abiding citizens in Mindanao need not fear the increased military presence and activities in their localities as government security forces are there to protect the populace, maintain peace, and order and go after criminal elements.

However, Lorenzana said that members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA who will engage in criminal and illegal acts such as kidnapping, extortion, murder, and the destruction of property will be dealt with or without Martial Law.

“Gusto ko lang liwanagin ang mensahe ko sa CPP-NPA. Huwag na kayong makigulo pa sa nangyayari ngayon sa Mindanao,” Lorenzana said.

“Do not force the government’s hand. Immediately stop all illegal activities and abide by the true spirit of the peace process. This is the only way we can move forward.” (Francis T. Wakefield)