From ABS-CBN (Apr 11): Reds will respect Holy Week rites in Bicol
BICOL – The underground communist movement on Friday said it will respect people's religious traditions and activities in the Bicol region during the coming Holy Week.
The National Democratic Front-Bicol's (NDF-Bicol) Ka Roja, in a statement to ABS-CBN News, said people will be allowed to hold "pabasa," "visita altares," and "siyete palabras," among others, in areas in the region where there are New People's Army (NPA) rebels.
"[We] guarantee the rights of the people to enjoy their freedom of conscience and religion," Ka Roja said.
Ka Roja also said they adhere to the provisions in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law that ensure the rights of civilians and those taking no active part in the hostilities.
"With or without the presence of a ceasefire declaration, the people can freely carry out such activities," Ka Roja said.
However, the Communist Party of the Philippines' (CPP) Central Committee has yet to declare a unilateral ceasefire for the Holy Week.
"It is the NPA's central leadership which takes the rightful position to evaluate the national situation and declare a unilateral ceasefire if need be. Please be assured that we will inform you of any development regarding this matter," the letter said.
Ka Roja said NPA rebels in Bicol will maintain "active defense."