Thursday, February 2, 2017

Termination of ceasefire offers mixed feelings among stakeholders

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 2): Termination of ceasefire offers mixed feelings among stakeholders

Local officials have expressed mixed feelings about the New People’s Army (NPA) declaration to terminate the unilateral interim ceasefire effective Feb. 10, 2017.

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Thursday said that he was saddened and “I fear of a renewed armed confrontation between the NPA rebels and the government troopers in the remote villages in the province.”

A renewed armed confrontation would mean displacing people, which would have an impact on the local government unit’s vigorous campaign to develop the local tourist industry, Emano said.

Emano, who worked hard to promote Misamis Oriental as the tourist destination in Mindanao, said he could not, but expressed the apprehension about the impact of the province’s tourism industry once armed hostilities erupt anew in the province.

Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, however, said that the termination of the unilateral interim ceasefire would have no effect on the peace and order situation in his province.

Prior to the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire in August last year, the military has reported a series of attacks and harassments against multinational and plantation companies in Bukidnon.

Bishop Felixberto Calang, of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and one of the conveners of the Phil. Ecumenical Peace Platform, said he still hopes that the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front would continue in spite of the setback.

He said that during the time of former Pres. Fidel Ramos, no ceasefire was observed by both parties and yet peace talks had continued.

“What is important right now is for us to see that there is no cessation of the talks even if it seems difficult, at the moment, to realize a cessation of hostilities,” Calang said in an interview Thursday.

He said that the process being undertaken at present by both sides “is an adjustment from the original sequencing of the agenda.

The cessation of hostilities is supposed to be tackled at the end when the roots of conflict are resolved. This also means that greater confidence building measures are needed to be worked out, Calang said.

Calang was referring to the released of the political detainees, stopping of militarization of communities, and discontinuation of the “Oplan Kapayapaan” (Operation Peace) as among the confidence building measures.

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