We are dismayed with the announcement of New People’s Army spokesman Ka Oris withdrawing their unilateral ceasefire effective February 10.
This cancellation came just after some progress were made in the third round of peace talks in Rome where negotiating panels from both sides agreed to further discuss a bilateral ceasefire in The Netherlands sometime end of this month. We respect their decision.
On the part of the office of the Presidential Peace Adviser, we will respectfully recommend to President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the government continue to maintain and uphold the unilateral ceasefire to sustain the peace in the communities where our people desire to live in peace.
This will provide an enabling and conducive environment to the on-going peace talks. At the same, we will recommend that government forces continue to be relentless in their campaign to protect the civilians from harm and terrorism.
We agree that the situation, with various incidents on the ground, had become untenable to sustain without the guidelines and protocols that a bilateral ceasefire provides.This gives more impetus and encouragement to our earnest task of forging a sustainable ceasefire agreement.
Despite these, however, we are still hopeful that the search for peace will continue and the tragedy of Filipinos fighting fellow Filipinos will come to an early end.
As we always stress, the road to peace is not easy to traverse. What is important is that we all stay the course.