DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) — The National Democratic Front (NDF) wants the New People’s Army (NPA) to refrain from carrying out offensives against government forces as it expressed willingness to discuss ceasefire with the government and cooperation against the Maute Group in Marawi.
In statement released on June 16, NDF chair Fidel V. Agcaoili said he made the recommendation to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that the communist forces halt offensives but maintain defensive operations against Maute, Abu Sayyaf, and Ansar Al Khilafah Philippines (AKP).
“For all forces to be able to concentrate against Maute, Abu Sayyaf and AKP groups, the NDFP has recommended to the CPP to order all other NPA units in Mindanao to refrain from carrying out offensive operations against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP), provided that the government (GRP) orders the AFP and PNP likewise to refrain from carrying out offensive operations against the NPA and people’s militia,” he said.
He said the NDF has instructed the Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO) inside Marawi City to assume home defense tasks while the CPP redeployed some units of the NPA close to besieged Marawi City “for the purpose of mopping up, holding and blocking operations, if necessary.”
He said they are ready to discuss ceasefire with government and how coordination and cooperation can be achieved in Marawi City by both forces “unilaterally keeping safe distances between each other.”
During the Mindanao Hour at the Royal Mandaya Hotel on June 8, 2017, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said cooperation between government and communist forces are unlikely if the latter continues to insist that President Rodrigo Duterte should lift martial law and its all-out war policy against the CPP/NPA/NDf.
“To show that the CPP-NPA-NDF is truly in pursuit of peaceful coexistence, they must stand against a common enemy without conditions,” Abella said,
Agcaoili said the NDFP has supported the government in its efforts to fight terrorism, terrorist groups and acts of terrorism.
He maintained that they condemn terrorism, which he described as “actions that intimidate, terrorize, harm and murder civilians solely or mainly and in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.”
“We condemn and are resolved and determined to counteract the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and Ansar Al Khilafah Philippines (AKP) groups which are wreaking havoc in Marawi City. These are terrorist groups linked to local reactionary forces, affiliated with ISIS and supported by US-CIA and other foreign entities,” he said.
He maintained the level of counteraction against terrorism, as well as the nature, scope and duration must be “appropriate and proportional to the degree of danger, threat and/or harm and mayhem being committed by the terrorist groups concerned in Marawi City.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)