MANILA, SEPTEMBER 19, 2007 (STAR) President Arroyo ordered yesterday the military to strengthen its defenses against New People’s Army (NPA) attacks in order to attract investments and create jobs.

Speaking at the National Economic and Development Authority Board-Cabinet meeting in Malacañang, Mrs. Arroyo called on Congress to immediately approve Proclamation 1377, which she issued two weeks ago to grant amnesty to communist rebels.

“Peace is important in attracting capital and improving the lives of our countrymen,” she said.

“(In the face of) attacks and extortion activities against businesses that provide jobs and services to our countrymen, I’m ordering the Armed Forces to strengthen defenses against the destruction and killings by enemies of the state.”

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales warned that the NPA is planning to stage a “big attack” in Metro Manila in the next days in the wake of the release of exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison from detention in the Netherlands.

“We were not able to get all the details of the possible attack but what we’ve picked up is that they’re (NPA) planning something like a big attack in Metro Manila so everybody’s been placed on guard,” he said.

“What we’re guessing is that the targets include those agencies that had something to do with Joma’s case, like some embassies.”

Intelligence agencies are monitoring the movement of some NPA personalities that could indicate an impending attack, Gonzales said.

Last week, NPA rebels attacked a Globe communications tower in Sorsogon. – Paolo Romero

Army told to deal decisively with destabilizers By Jaime Laude Wednesday, September 19, 2007

(STAR) PILAR, Bohol – Army chief Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano has warned troops at the front that “unscrupulous groups” might try to use them for their own vested interests.

“If anyone of you has something against the government, you can always get out of the service,” he said.

“From there you can air grievances. But for as long as you are in the service you are bound by your oath to protect the republic and the people from enemies of state.”

Speaking to troops of the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion, Yano said he will use the full might of the Army to foil any attempt of soldiers to break from the chain of command.

“There are still few noisy people who think that they alone have the monopoly of patriotism,” he said.

“What about us, the majority who have been true to our oath and have been performing our duties as protector of the people and defender of the republic? It’s unfair. So I am ordering you to deal with these vested groups decisively.”

Battalion commanders must immediately resolve grumbling of the troops and not allow it to reach higher headquarters, he added.

Yano told the troops they are deployed in Bohol to rid the province of communist rebels who are trying to make their presence felt despite their dwindling number.

“If you go against your sworn duties, you are even worse than the NPAs, because they (insurgents) don’t have any oath to speak of,” he said.

“They’re plain and simple criminals. Let us put a stop to this foolishness (destablization).”

Meanwhile, Yano told a peace and order council meeting in Tagbilaran City chaired by Gov. Erico Aumentado that the Army presence in this island province will continue until such time that the New People’s Army (NPA) has been defeated.

However, the Army cannot do it alone because fighting and defeating the NPA requires coordinated efforts, especially with local governments, he added.

Bohol is a government laboratory for development, Yano told provincial board members, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Bohol chapter and local leaders.

Yano, along with Armed Forces Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Victor Ibrado and Capiz-based Army 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Jovenal Narcise, first visited troops of the 302nd Brigade in Carmen town in Bohol.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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