The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police have gone on alert against possible rebel attacks by the New Peopleâ€™s Army (NPA), which celebrates its 40th founding anniversary Saturday.
"We are on alert for the occasion, just in case [the NPA] has plans," AFP chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told reporters in Fort Bonifacio, after he attended the 111th Philippine Army anniversary rites.
The PNP, on the other hand, went on full alert beginning 6 p.m. Friday, spokesman Senior Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome said.
PNP Director General Avelino Razon Jr. had earlier said the alert status would only be upgraded to heightened.
â€œThis is in preparation of the anniversary tomorrow of the New Peopleâ€™s Army. We donâ€™t want our personnel to be placed in a situation where they will be surprised if ever there are plans from the NPA to conduct their own terroristic activities,â€ Bartolome said, although he acknowledged they have yet to receive reports of possible attacks.
Esperon said he has given ground commanders to determine the alert level in their respective areas, AFP spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro said.
The AFP has a three-step alert system: white is the lowest, followed by blue, and the highest is red.
"We did not give an effective date [for the alert] because it is supposed to be part of a standard operating order," Esperon said.
The military chief said no alert will be raised in Metro Manila, since the guerillas are unlikely to launch attacks in the capital.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has vowed to wipe out the communist insurgency by the end of her term in June 2010.
â€œWe are supporting the Armed Forces and conducting our security preparationâ€¦We are ready for themâ€¦We see that the 2010 deadline will be attained,â€ Bartolome said.
â€œMany [rebels] have been neutralized, some have been surrendering. We expect that their numbers will go down further especially since the 2010 deadline is close,â€ he added.
By: Joel Guinto, Thea Alberto