Gov’t reciprocates NDF’s call, stops offensives vs NPA
The Philippine government has suspended offensive operations against the communist rebels.in response to a similar call of the National Democratic Front (NDF) for the guerillas to “refrain” from attacking soldiers in Mindanao so government could focus on flushing out terror groups.
In a statement on Sunday, peace panel chair Sec. Silvestre Bello III said the government is reciprocating the call by not launching as well offensives against the New People’s Army (NPA).
“We welcome the recent statement of the National Democratic Front (NDF) reaffirming its support to the Philippine government’s fight against Maute, Abu Sayyaf, Ansar al-Khalifah Philippines (AKP) groups and other terrorist organizations wreaking havoc in Marawi City and other parts of the country,” Bello said.
“The Philippine government hereby correspondingly reciprocates with the same declaration of not undertaking offensive operations against the New People’s Army to pave way for the eventual signing of a mutually agreed bilateral ceasefire agreement and agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces towards a just and lasting peace,” he added.
Bello said the government panel “appreciated” the NDF’s call for the NPA to stop offensives so the government could focus on its anti-terror operations, especially since the Maute group laid siege in Marawi City.
“We also appreciate the NDF’s commitment in their declaration to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to focus their attention on the war against terror groups,” he added.
Bello said the communists’ “voluntary gestures” in expressing solidarity with the Philippine government paves the way for the continuation of the fifth round of peace talks, which was earlier stalled when the government withdrew from the talks following the communists’ call for the NPA to intensify operations due to President Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.
“These voluntary gestures and expressions from the NDF in solidarity with government against acts of terrorism augur well for the desired continuation of the stalled 5th round of peace talks as they provide, if sustained, the needed enabling environment favorable to moving the peace negotiations forward,” Bello said. JE/rga
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