The unilateral ceasefires being observed by the Philippine Army and the communist New People's Army appear to be holding, in the absence of clashes and insurgency-related incidents, as of this time.
Col. Francisco Delfin, commander of the 303 rd Infantry Brigade, that has jurisdiction of the Negros Island, said yesterday that they have not monitored any violation almost a month after the indefinite ceasefire was declared by the government and the CPP-NPA.
But Delfin said they have monitored movements of some NPA rebels, although in small formations. But there was no consolidation of rebel forces, he added.
The National Democratic Front-Negros had issued a statement earlier that it will abide by the indefinite ceasefire. But it said that the New People's Army in Negros Island will maintain its defensive mode against any “unfriendly actions or provocations” and continue its vigilance over intrusion in its areas, like surveillance and offensive operations camouflaged as peace and development or civil military operations.
With the suspension of military operations, Delfin said they are continuing their peace efforts, through Bayanihan Team activities, aimed at helping the people in countryside bring their concerns to government agencies, and assist the police in establishing pre-emptive measures, in connection with the declaration of the state of lawless violence by the President.
Government chief negotiator and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement issued by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process that he is optimistic a bilateral agreement will be reached and put in place when the second round of peace negotiations resume on October 4-10, also in Oslo, Norway.
“It is indicative of the sincerity of both parties in the (peace) process which augurs well for peace,” Bello said of the lull in the fighting.
He said the indefinite unilateral ceasefire from the NPA is considered “historic and unprecedented,” following the release of 22 detained NDF consultants.
While he called on Negrenses to support the formal peace talks between the Philippine government and NDFP, Frank Fernandez, NDF-Negros spokesman said, “We must remain vigilant against peace saboteurs who may derail the peace process”.
Fernandez also said that the NPA-Negros will continue to implement sanctions against rabid syndicates, people engaged in the drug trade, large scale mining, wanton destruction of the environment, private armed goons and guards of landlords.*GPB
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