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AFP pushes for joint ceasefire

Air Force Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), called on leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to agree to signing a joint ceasefire with the government if it is really sincere in achieving lasting peace in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, General Padilla said, “We can see that a unilateral ceasefire arrangement will not be effective, as what we have experienced in recent months. There are a lot of complaints but there is no one that has the power to investigate, to implement and render who is accountable on either side,” Padilla said.

“So the ceasefire agreement remains fragile that’s why we are pushing to have a joint ceasefire agreement which is more durable,” Padilla said. “For as long as there is no joint ceasefire agreement signed, with mechanisms laid out in order to maintain and ensure that the ceasefire period will reign, we will not suspend our military and police operations.”

Padilla said the refusal of the communist side to sign a joint ceasefire agreement shows that they are only concerned with their own interests.

On the Communist Party statement stating that stopping the “revolutionary tax” in NPA- controlled areas, is not acceptable, Padilla said the NPA cannot claim control of any part of the country.

“Nobody has control of any part of the Republic of the Philippines. Anytime, soldiers and policemen can go to any place because we only have one country, the Republic of the Philippines, and there is no group here that can control any part of the country. That is why we will not recognize that,” Padilla said. (Francis Wakefield)