NPA urged to also declare ceasefire
DAVAO CITY – Local and military officials in Southern Mindanao said they welcomed President Duterte’s decision to declare a temporary ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA), even as they urged the insurgents to reciprocate it “so the people can celebrate a peaceful Christmas.”
Maj. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command based here, said the public would be assured of a secure and peaceful holiday with the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) against the rebels.
On Wednesday, Mr. Duterte declared a ceasefire with the NPA from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2, 2018 so Filipinos could celebrate the Holidays peacefully.
“We welcome this in the name of peace and will ensure that our units will abide kung ano man ang (by whatever is the) directive patungkol dito (regarding this),” Balagtey told the Inquirer.
Compostela Valley Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy, chair of the Southern Mindanao regional peace and order council (RPOC), likewise approved the President’s decision and called on the NPA to reciprocate the President’s gesture.
The President’s decision came just days after a major NPA command in Mindanao vowed “to fight zealously” his administration and help oust him, calling him “a madman and the Adolf Hitler of the South.”
“I hope the NPA will do the same to spare the civilians from harm and danger as we celebrate the Christmas season with our families,” Uy, whose gold-rich province has the most number of NPA guerrillas in the region, said.
Balagtey, the regional military spokesperson, said the army might downgrade its alert status if the government’s ceasefire “will be reciprocated positively” by the rebels.
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