GRP to AFP and PNP: Protect the people while talk uncertain

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DAVAO CITY (February 3) –Government of the Republic of the Philippines chairperson Silvestre Bello III asks the military and the police to protect the people as the communist rebels backtracks from the ceasefire agreement.

In a statement issued February 1, Bello said “the last six months have given us a glimpse of the sort of place that could emanate from the cessation of hostilities brought about by the re-opening of the formal negotiations and declaration of unilateral ceasefires by the GRP and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

At around 10am, February 1, the he Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Operations Command of the New People’s Army declared the termination of its ceasefire.

The CPP through Jeorge Madlos aka Ka Oris broke the news  saying ” After serving notice to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, the ceasefire shall effectively expire on 11:59p.m. of February 10.”

But Bello in a statement said “Even as we terminate the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire, we continue to support the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992. In our experience and in the experience of other peoples, it is possible to negotiate while fighting until the substantive agreements are forged to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.

Just few hours after the announcement, the rebels attacked the responding military and police team in Manay Davao Oriental which  killed 2Lt. Manuel Victor Alejo.

On February 2, the two unarmed soldiers of the 39thIB in Columbio town Sultan Kudarat were abducted by the suspected rebels. Hours later three soldiers were killed in Bukidnon.

Despite the incidents, the military claims, they still hold on to the ceasefire agreement.

Bello’s statement stressed “It is, therefore regrettable that the New People’s Army has decided to withdraw their unilateral ceasefire effective February10.”

“Despite the NPA’s withdrawal, the government peace panel has recommended to the President that we stand by our unilateral ceasefire.”

Below is the statement of the GRP:

We look forward to meeting with our NDF counterparts for the fourth round of talks in April and to discuss the possibility of a bilateral ceasefire agreement on February 22, as agreed upon during the third round of talks held in Rome.

It is our belief that such ceasefire agreement would set the ground rules on cessation of hostilities that could minimize, if not eliminate, the armed violence that affects communities.

In the meantime, the AFP and the PNP shall continue to provide protection and relief from the potential renewal of violence resulting from the NPA’s recent declaration.

We shall also endeavor to continue the peace-building and development efforts in conflict areas with local government units in the forefront, supported by national agencies in the delivery of basic services to our people.

Finally, we encourage all Filipinos to add their voices to the growing clamor of those directly affected by violent conflict, for continuing the ceasefire and the chance to actively participate in the discussion for socio-economic and political reforms vital to the success of a final political settlement.”

President Duterte Thursday, February 2, said he still not ready to decide on the ceasefire.

 

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