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Friday, September 20, 2019

Offensives continue as AFP awaits ceasefire guidelines


A DAY after the signing of the ceasefire agreement between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Armed Forces of the Philippines said they will continue their regular offensives since no order was relayed yet to their office to stop their combat operations.

"The interim joint ceasefire agreement merely subscribes to a forthcoming joint ceasefire. The signed document states that: 'To put into effect the ceasefire upon the approval and signing of the guidelines and ground rules' technically, nothing is clear yet," Captain Alex Cabales, acting 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO) chief, said in a text message to SunStar Davao.

He said they have not received specific instructions from their superiors and will therefore continue their combat operations to protect the communities from the rebels.

"We have not received the guidelines yet. Our operations continue and we have instructed our units not to put their guards down," Cabales said.

"We have always been supportive of the peace process and we will abide by any direction set by our chain of command," he added.

Task Force Davao (TFD) commander Colonel Erwin Bernard Neri considered the agreement as a welcome development.

"I support the ongoing peace negotiation as this will pave the way for a just and lasting peace in this country," Neri said.

He urged the NDFP to follow the provisions of the forged agreement.

"If the CPP-NPA-NDF is really sincere of this ceasefire agreement, then it will be good for the Filipino people. Sana they will strictly abide to whatever provisions na ilagay sa interim joint ceasefire agreement between the government and their group," he said.

The Agreement on an Interim Joint Ceasefire (IJC) was inked by both parties in Noordwijk, Netherlands on Wednesday evening.

Both parties have agreed to direct their respective Ceasefire Committee to meet, even in-between formal talks, to discuss, formulate, and finalize the guidelines and ground rules for the implementation of the agreement.

They also agreed to put into effect the ceasefire upon the approval and signing of the guidelines and ground rules.

The signing of the agreement is seen to generate goodwill and trust in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations; encourage the forging of a more stable and comprehensive Joint Ceasefire Agreement (JCA); and provide an enabling environment for eventual and early signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.

Guidelines and rules will include governing the presence of armed units and elements of both parties in local communities and the creation of buffer zones; an agreement on prohibited, hostile, and provocative acts; the ceasefire monitoring and verification mechanisms in relation to the implementation of the ceasefire and the handling of complaints and alleged violation.

The IJC also states that matters regarding a single governmental authority and taxation shall be discussed and resolved in forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms within the framework of the proposed Federal Republic of the Philippines.

The IJC agreement shall be effective until a permanent ceasefire agreement is forged as part of the Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (Final Peace Agreement).


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