IN NEGROS, PANAY
One-week ceasefire a
success, army says
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division yesterday said the one-week ceasefire with the New People’s Army in Negros Occidental and Panay island was a success, adding it was free of violent insurgency-related incidents.
The military, however, said it recorded a violation of truce by the NPA in Negros Oriental, where a member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit was almost killed in an assassination attempt by rebel hitmen in the hinterlands of Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan.
On the other hand, the NPA also accused the military of committing eight ceasefire violations, including deployment of soldiers in communities, during the February 15 to 21 ceasefire period.
The ceasefire was held during the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front panels in Norway.
Capt. Mark Andrew Posadas of the 3ID yesterday said Army infantry units have resumed normal combat operations against the armed NPA members, who continue to wage an armed struggle in the countryside.
Government peace panel chair, Alexander Padilla, had earlier said the two panels are considering the possibility of extending the ceasefire, as both sides were satisfied with its implementation.
Padilla, in a statement at the closing of first round of peace talks, said the ceasefire is “one of several confidence-building measures that facilitated the participation of NDFP consultants Rafael Baylosis, Beth Principe and Randy Echanis in our talks.”
Echanis, who is facing multiple murder charges in court, was arrested two years ago by policemen in Bago City, Negros Occidental.
“We are hoping for future ceasefires but that would be under negotiation with the NDF,” Padilla said.
Former Negrense priest Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDF negotiating panel, on the other hand, said that the possibility of having another ceasefire would depend on the reports of their rebel armed forces.
“That would be under study and evaluation but we will be getting the reports of the revolutionary forces on the ground and get the recommendations of our principals,” Jalandoni said.
After a full week of hard bargaining on the negotiating table, the Philippine government and NDFP successfully concluded yesterday their first round of formal talks after a six-year impasse, with an agreement to complete the peace talks in 18 months.
In a joint statement released during a press conference in Oslo, Norway, both panels have agreed to complete the draft comprehensive agreements on the remaining items of the agenda, such as the socio-economic reforms, political-constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces. *GPB
A fish vendor was endorsed to the Bago City police station in Negros Occidental Saturday for allegedly taking the cellular phone of a woman at the city’s public plaza, Bago police acting commander, Chief Insp. Rico Santotome, said yesterday.
Santotome identified the arrested suspect as Rodney Aranico, 51, of Barangay Singcang-Airport, in Bacolod City.
Aranico was apprehended by Barangay Poblacion tanod Rey Bautista at about 10 p.m. on the complaints of Joan Euminda, 24, of Barangay Pacol, who claimed that Aranico snatched her cellular phone.
Eumida’s cellular phone was recovered from Aranico, while another cellular phone was also seized from him during his arrest.
Theft charges have been filed against Aranico, who is still detained at Bago City police station lock-up cell.*APN
Cops recover gun
Station 8 policemen recovered a pugalite gun hidden in a grassy portion of a riverbank in Purok Hanap-buhay, Brgy. Pahanocoy, Bacolod City, yesterday.
Senior Police Officer 4 Christopher Diaz of Police Station 8 said they were conducting a saturation drive in the area when he noticed the gun hidden in the grass, and picked it up.
Diaz said they also recovered four live ammunition of an M-16 rifle from the gun’s cylinder. He theorized that the gun might have been left by a nearby resident.
Diaz disclosed that there was a reported gang war in the area and some members of these warring groups used loose firearms.
Meanwhile, Station 3 chief, Insp. Jose Mulleta, also reported the arrest of Andy Cayao, 34, of Purok Amor in Brgy. Villamote for alleged possession of a bladed weapon in Brgy. Banago yesterday.
Mulleta said they were conducting a police visibility patrol in Purok San Mateo at about 2 a.m., when they saw Cayao with a bladed weapon tucked in his waistband.
The police seized a 12-inch bladed weapon from Cayao, who is now detained at Police Station 3.*APN