NDFP to investigate alleged truce violation by communist rebels
DAVAO CITY—The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will look into the authenticity of reports that communist fighters allegedly attacked government forces in Iloilo and Camarines Norte on Monday, casting dark clouds over the recent prospects for the resumption of talks.
Fidel Agcaoili, chair of the NDFP peace panel, said they would verify first the information that the NPA staged such attacks, considering that the reports came mainly from military and police press releases.
“The NDFP shall check on the veracity of (the) reports,” Agcaoili said but added that the NDFP would still welcome complaints regarding the incidents.
“We suggest that the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) file their complaints against the NPA (New People’s Army) before the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law),” Agcaoili said.
A bilateral body activated through CARHRIHL, the JMC serves as the mechanism that processes and investigates alleged human rights violations committed by either of the parties of the conflict that
raged on for over four decades.
CARHRIHL was signed by the government and NDFP in 1998 to put primacy to human life and dignity in the ongoing conflict.
But Agcaoili said the NDFP ended in 2017 the longest simultaneous unilateral ceasefire in the history of the peace negotiations between the communist rebels and the government after government troops attacked an NPA unit in North Cotabato that year.
“We should all recall that it was an attack by the military on an NPA unit in Makilala, Cotabato province in late January 2017 while the formal talks were going on in Rome, Italy, that broke the longest ever
simultaneous and unilateral ceasefires between the GRP and the NDFP,” Agcaoili said.
“(The attack) prompted the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) to terminate its unilateral ceasefire in early February 2017,” he added.
He said it was possible that individuals who opposed the resumption of peace negotiations could be behind the recent incidents.
“The peace spoilers are at it again, including an imagined assassination plot against President Duterte,” Agcaoili said.
The government and the CPP issued unilateral and reciprocal ceasefire declarations on Sunday, hoping to create an enabling environment for the resumption of the stalled peace talks next month.
The ceasefire, which started midnight of Monday, will last until January 7.
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