President Rodrigo Duterte reads the program brochure during the 84th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on December 17, 2019.
Presidential Photo/Richard Madelo
Duterte being Number 1 on supposed NPA hit list no surprise, PSG says
(Philstar.com) - December 18, 2019 - 4:27pm

MANILA, Philippines — It is no surprise to the Presidential Security Group that President Rodrigo Duterte is allegedly included in a supposed hit list of communist rebels and the unit tasked with securing the president is taking steps to protect him

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon earlier said they have received information that the supposed hit list of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army and National Democratric Front includes himself and the president.

Brig. Gen. Jose Niembra, PSG chief, noted that as the CPP celebrates its anniversary later this month, the group is also expected to have accomplishments for the year.

"We expect that the president is Number One in their list," Niembra said in a Malacañang press briefing.

The PSG chief added that they are implementing heightened security measures to ensure the safety of the chief executive.

"Rest assured we are doing something to protect the president," Niembra said.

Supposed hit list

Esperon also said he was not surprised that the president was included in the supposed hit list.

Also in the list were Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chief Allen Capuyan, according to Esperon.

A GMA News report quotes Esperon, who is vice chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, as saying they had received information that the CPP-NPA had authorized so-called Special Partisan Units for attack,

"Our law enforcement and security forces have been advised to take appropriate countermeasures against this sinister threat to general peace and order," Esperon said in the report.

The CPP Information Bureau has yet to respond to a request for comment but a separate GMA News report quotes CPP founder Jose Maria Sison as dismissing Esperon's claim as "malicious psywar."

He said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines that represents the rebels at peace talks had even "proposed to Duterte through Secretary Bello that goodwill measures be undertaken during the holidays."

Sen. Imee Marcos, on the other hand, called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to declare a unilateral ceasefire on Christmas.

The senator suggested suspending offensive operations from December 24 to 25 to allow soldiers to celebrate Christmas with their families.

The government has yet to respond to this request. While offensive operations are suspended during a ceasefire, security forces are required to continue defensive military and police actions during this period. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT NEW PEOPLE'S ARMY PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY GROUP RODRIGO DUTERTE
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