MANILA, Philippines – The military on Friday called on the National Democratic Front to show sincerity in declaring its 29-day ceasefire in typhoon- hit areas in Mindanao to give way for rescue and relief operations.
“The humanitarian ceasefire announced by the NDFP should not be for publicity and lip service only. The call for a ceasefire should be sincere and must be translated into actions,” Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr. said in a statement.
Early this week, the NDFP announced a ceasefire from December 5 to January 3, 2013 at 12 noon, but may be extended if necessary.
But Burgos said the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the NDFP, violated its own ceasefire declaration when it took hostage two children of a soldier in Davao del Norte and harassed a peace and development team of the Army’s 60th Infantry Battalion while delivering relief goods to typhoon victims.
Davao region was among the hardest-hit by Pablo, the strongest storm to hit the country this year.
“If they will strictly abide with their pronouncement, then that is good news. It would be a clear manifestation that they are joining our Bayanihan which is the way forward to achieving a just and lasting peace for our nation. The AFP hopes for a longer and more permanent end to violence that lasts not only during holidays or times of disaster,” he added.
The IPSP Bayanihan is the military’s campaign plan against insurgency.
“In fact, we hope that the rebels will altogether abandon the armed violence, extortion, and harassments that have caused suffering to rural communities and indigenous peoples, destroyed infrastructures, and hampered the growth of our economy,” he also said.