THE Philippine Army in Negros and Panay welcomed the signing of an interim joint ceasefire agreement between the government panel and the National Democratic Front (NDF) during the fourth round of peace talks in the Netherlands.

Major General Jon Aying, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz, said it’s a “most welcome” gesture from the two panels.

“After all those long years of misunderstanding, conflict and violence, when the situation has changed and favors the people so much, only fools or those who are not in their right senses will refuse a peace process,” he said.

Aying said there is no better time to unite warring Filipino factions, but now.

“Once we were fools, now we are not,” he added.

Aying said the provisions mentioned in the agreement are all negotiable, but the interests and well-being of the whole Filipino nation are not.

For his part, Captain Eduardo Precioso, public information officer of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said they are still waiting for the orders from the higher command on the said ceasefire.

“As of now, combat operations are still ongoing,” he said.

He added that they are hoping for the “sincere adherence” of the communist rebels to the truce.

The police in Negros Island Region (NIR), meanwhile, are on full alert status following the agreement on a joint interim ceasefire.

Police Regional Office-NIR public information officer Armilyn Vargas Thursday, April 6, said they have yet to receive instructions from the higher headquarters, but police chiefs were advised to maximize their personnel in every station.

All personnel were deployed to ensure peace and order in the community, Vargas said.

The government and the NDF are expected to discuss the conditions that will be part of the bilateral ceasefire agreement.

A bilateral ceasefire agreement is among the conditions President Rodrigo Duterte had laid out to ensure the success of the peace pact.

The agreement on an interim joint ceasefire mandated both parties to direct their respective ceasefire committees to meet and discuss the guidelines and ground rules for the implementation of the truce.