NDFP vows to probe NPA ambush on militiamen in Davao Norte
DAVAO CITY—The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said on Thursday it would look into the ambush by New People’s Army rebels on government militiamen in Davao del Norte even as it reaffirmed its commitment to the upcoming peace talks.
A government militia was killed while four others were injured in the ambush in the town of Kapalong. The military said the militiamen were attacked by NPA rebels.
Fidel Agcaoili, spokesperson of the NDFP peace panel, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday that they have communicated with government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III regarding the attack.
“We informed Secretary Bello that we will have to look into the report because as far as the NDFP Panel is concerned, the NPA is on active defense mode since 26 July as announced by Ka Oris, the newly appointed Head of the National Operational Command of the NPA,” Agcaoili said.
Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos earlier said the shift to an active defense mode was their initial response to President Duterte’s ceasefire declaration.
“Under the direction of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army (NPA-NOC) orders all territorial and unit commands of the NPA, including all units of the people’s militias, to stay on active defense mode as we welcome the unilateral ceasefire declaration yesterday by GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) President Rodrigo Duterte and await its operational details,” Madlos said on July 26.
Madlos said the order would remain pending the reciprocal ceasefire declaration of the NDFP.
“By staying on active defense mode, the NPA prepares for a reciprocal unilateral ceasefire declaration by the CPP and the NDFP to be issued soon as a boost for the upcoming NDFP-GRP peace talks. An exchange of unilateral ceasefire declarations will be one of the first items in the resumption of NDFP-GRP peace talks scheduled for August 20-27 with the aim of making these unilateral declarations effective,” Madlos said.
Duterte warned on Thursday that he might rethink his unilateral ceasefire with the communists because of the ambush, which came two days after he declared a ceasefire with the communists.
“We also told Secretary Bello that, as expressed by Chairperson Luis Jalandoni, like President Duterte, the NDFP is committed to resume the peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict to attain a just and lasting peace as reiterated in the Oslo Joint Statement of 15 June 2016 that affirmed all past agreements,” Agcaoili said. SFM
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