Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Army's 10ID orders line units to stop offensive operations as President Duterte declares ceasefire with rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): Army's 10ID orders line units to stop offensive operations as President Duterte declares ceasefire with rebels

The 10 Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army has ordered all its line units to stop all offensive operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) effective immediately.

“We have ordered our line units to stop all offensive operations against the NPA effective immediately without sacrificing the security and safety of our troops and the security of all vital facilities, installations and population centers,” said a statement released by 10th ID spokesperson Capt. Rhyan Batchar.

Batchar said they fully support President Rodrigo Duterte's call for unity and peace.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, President Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) effective immediately.

But the President also called on the NDF to respond accordingly, highlighting his commitment to bring permanent and lasting peace before his term ends.

“I call on the Filipinos, let me make this appeal if we cannot as yet love one another then in God’s name let us not hate each other too much,” he said, urging the communist movement to put an end to ambuscades as killings are going nowhere. “It is getting bloodier by the day,” he said.

Duterte’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire came a month ahead of the formal peace talks in Oslo, Norway on August 20 when the government panel headed by Secretary Silvestre Bello and the CPP-NDFP resume the stalled peace talks.

It may be recalled that during a preliminary talk last June in Oslo, the two panels agreed to recommend an interim ceasefire of both the government armed forces and the communist rebels. They also agreed to recommend the immediate release of NDFP consultants and other persons protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations; and the immediate release of prisoners/detainees based on humanitarian grounds.

Bello earlier said the discussion on ceasefire was opened for the first time in 14 years. The last ceasefire was in 1986 during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino although it failed due to lack of monitoring.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, he said they are also working for the release of about five to 11 members of the NDFP who will be participating in the talks.

Dureza said they will comply with legal procedures.

GPH and the CPP-NDFP panels were supposed to meet this month but the meeting was moved to August 20 to settle some details before the talks resume. In the resumption of talks, they are expected to fast track the remaining three substantive issues namely the socioeconomic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

They will discuss the affirmation of previously signed agreements; accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces; reconstitution of the (JASIG) list; Amnesty Proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners subject to concurrence by Congress; and the Mode of Interim ceasefire.


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