DND: Gov’t to continue ceasefire with NPA
Despite the declaration of the New People’s Army to terminate their unilateral ceasefire, the military will continue to implement its own ceasefire.
“The DND [Department of National Defense] will continue to enforce the government’s unilateral ceasefire and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] will not actively operate against the NPA while our ceasefire is in effect,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday.
“It’s up to them. It will not affect the AFP. Anyway, despite their declared ceasefire, they have not stopped extorting under the guise of their so-called revolutionary taxation, went on recruiting, burning buses and equipment, ambushing and kidnapping soldiers,” Lorenzana said.
The NPA said earlier in the day that the termination of ceasefire will be effective Feb. 10 because the government failed to release political prisoners and the military also continued to operate in their “areas.”
They clarified that they remain supportive of the peace negotiations, which will be on its third round later this month in the Netherlands.
The military reported several incidents of abduction, extortion and ambush supposedly done by the NPA since Sunday.
The government and communists declared their own unilateral ceasefire last August. It was broken after a firefight in Makilala, North Cotabato last week, which left one rebel dead.
Lorenzana said they will continue to go after “lawless elements” to maintain peace and order.
“We do not recognize any areas under NPA control nor are they allowed to roam around with their firearms intimidating people,” he added.
The government peace panel also expressed its dismay with the announcement of the NPA but said they respected their decision.
“We will respectfully recommend to President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the government continues to maintain and uphold the unilateral ceasefire to sustain the peace in the communities where our people desire to live in peace,” peace adviser Jesus Dureza said in a statement. JE
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