After declaring truce with Left, Duterte urged to pull out troops
A lawmaker representing the youth sector said that the unilateral ceasefire that President Rodrigo Duterte offered to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) should also mean that military troops will be pulled out from schools and communities.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said that the pull-out of troops should be done immediately in communities of the Lumad, or the indigenous peoples.
“While we welcome President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement of a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF, we emphasize that the ceasefire will only bring peace to the hearts and minds of the multitudes affected by militarization if government troops will pull out of their schools and communities immediately,” Elago said.
The lawmaker welcomed the inclusion of the concerns of the Lumad in Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA), such as the issuance of Ancestral Certificates Domain Title so that they could return to their houses after they were displaced by the military.
But Elago expressed concern that Duterte barely touched issues on education.
“While the President mentioned the improvement of the Alternative Learning System, he was conspicuously silent on pressing issues faced by students, including the implementation of the K-12 program and the spiraling rate of matriculation. He could have at least addressed these concerns head on,” Elago said.
She hoped that the President’s would not advocate making the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) a mandatory course again.
Duterte announced that he would implement a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF “effective immediately.” This was welcomed by NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison.
“We share with President Duterte the determination to resume formal talks and work for a just and lasting peace,” Sison said in a statement. AJH/IDL/rga
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