Military may recommend lifting of unilateral ceasefire with communists
January 30, 2017
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) may recommend the lifting of unilateral ceasefire declaration with the communists amid alleged attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) against the military in Mindanao, a spokesman said Monday.
“It is our desire to pass on the statement to the other side that if they are seriously considering really attaining peace in our as we have been pushing you can count on the armed forces to continue to support the unilateral ceasefire that we have both declared on each side and resume that peaceful environment that has been existing since August,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla told reporters.
“If they so desire that they are backing out of the unilateral ceasefire, we will make appropriate recommendations therein to protect our troops,” he said.
“(To) lift suspension of military operation (SOMO) if they lift the unilateral ceasefire,” Padilla said referring to the specific recommendation that they may give to the peace panel.
“We have a duty to protect our people, we have a duty to keep the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country and we shall not also hesitate to provide the support needed by our local government and police in the area so that we can deliver the services needed by our people in these areas,” he noted.
Padilla made his statement after the NPA allegedly conducted attacks against troops in Mindanao.
A soldier who belongs to the Peace and Development Team (PDT) at the vicinity of Barangay Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte was abducted.
Private First Class Erwin Salan was conducting forest clean up drive within the vicinity of Lumondo Falls with youth volunteers when he was abducted by around 15 armed men believed to be members of the NPA’s North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).
“While on their return trek to Barangay Budlingin proper, Salan and the youth volunteers were flagged down by the said armed rebel group,” he said.
Padilla said one soldier was killed while three were wounded after the NPA attacked the troops of 30th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Mati, Surigao City early Monday morning.
He said the troops were deployed in Barangay Mati for peace and development activities when they were allegedly attacked by 10 members of the NPA's North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command which resulted to a10 minute fire fight.
Padilla admitted the military is bothered these attacks could be signs the NPA are backing out from their unilateral ceasefire. Robina Asido/DMS
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