Thursday, December 31, 2015

Local leaders, AFP hoping for end to armed conflict in Mindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 31): Local leaders, AFP hoping for end to armed conflict in Mindanao

Butuan City – Mindanao leaders and field unit commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spread all over the second largest island in the Philippines welcomes 2016 with the hope and ardent desire for peace and prosperity for all Mindanaons and also hope that fighting between government security forces and communist insurgents will end.

These Mindanao leaders are also hoping that this unilateral ceasefire declared by both the government and Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) will continue even after Jan. 3, 2016, the end of suspension of military and police operations and NPA, armed wing of the CPP.

“We welcome peace beginning this New Year and as a people, we should demand an end to armed struggle as a means to achieve change in our society, instead we must make the purveyors of violence realize that the best way to achieve change is through peaceful means,” said Maj. Gen. Rafael C. Valencia, commanding general of the AFP Southern Mindanao 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, in a statement.

Addressing the CPP-NPA-NDF, Gen. Valencia expressed hope that in 2016, their members especially their leaders should realize that  47 years of armed struggle has only brought so much miseries to many Filipino families. “Many Filipino lives were wasted, as parents and children alike were victimized by the brutality of the armed struggle carried out by the CPP-NPA”, he said.
“We call on everyone to work for just peace and change without the use of arms, praying fervently for all to have a peaceful and happy 2016,” the 10th ID commander added, in his 2016 message.

On the other hand, the governors in Mindanao also welcome the new year with the hope that the ceasefire between the government forces and communist insurgents will continue beyond the stipulated deadline.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas said, “the ceasefire — alongside peace and development initiatives — can be taken as a sign of government’s commitment to peace. It is a gesture that shows how the government has always kept the welfare of the Filipino people in mind.”

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