A non-government peace advocate organization called Waging Peace Philippines has joined other groups in issuing an appeal for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front to reciprocate the yuletide truce being observed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, however, said there is no need for him to enjoin the communist NPA to declare a ceasefire in Negros Occidental because that should be voluntary and with sincerity on their part.
Lactao, however, urged the NPA to take advantage of the ceasefire period to visit their loved ones, take a respite, and reflect on their actions, especially the relevance of the armed struggle today.
The WPP expressed sadness over the killing of five soldiers in Surigao del Sur in an ambush allegedly perpetrated by the NPA, while the unilateral ceasefire was ongoing. It said it is still hoping that the suspension of military operations will give respite and security, especially to communities affected by the armed conflict.
Major Eugenio Osias IV, commander of the 4 th Civil Military Operations Battalion, condemned what he called a “heartless attack” of the NPA, who took advantage of the goodwill that the government had extended to them.
“These criminals are heartless. They did not even think of the spirit of the yuletide season,” Osias, who is a Bacoleño, said.
WPP spokesperson Anica Reyes also called for the resumption of peace negotiations between the government and NDF in the first quarter of next year, and for the humanitarian release of political prisoners, especially those connected to the peace process.*GPB