Military wants bilateral ceasefire deal before halting operations against NPA
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said no ceasefire with the communists will be declared unless a bilateral ceasefire agreement is signed by the negotiating panels, a military spokesman said Monday.
“Until there is no signing of joint ceasefire agreement with mechanism to ensure that the ceasefire period will be followed, we will not suspend our military and police operations,” Brigadier General Restituto Padilla told reporters Monday.
Padilla said President Rodrigo Duterte who is pushing for the signing of the ceasefire agreement “after he consulted different agencies (of the government).”
Padilla emphasized he government did not suspend its operation against the NPA as the rebels took advantage of the unilateral ceasefire like what they did in previous ceasefire declaration that lasted for almost six months.
He also noted the importance having a joint ceasefire agreement with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“The intention of having joint ceasefire agreement is to have a formal mechanism which will be monitored by uninterested third parties. This mechanism will strengthen the ceasefire that will be implemented,” he said.
“What we want is to have a ceasefire where there is a group that will investigate and will able to judge who is accountable of any violation, in case of any complaint (filed) by both parties,” he added.
It can be recalled the government and the communists declared a unilateral ceasefire on August 2016 so peace talks can resume. But the ceasefire was terminated early February due to violence allegedly by the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
But after back channeling, peace talks are taking place in the Netherlands.
The talks resumed despite hostilities between the government forces and the New People’s Army. Robina Asido/DMS