AFP says ceasefire up for the government to decide

The call from religious leaders came a day after the military pounded civilian villages with aerial bombnig runs that triggered evacuation of villagers of Manay and Kasilak in Panabo City.

The military claimed the air strikes were part of the pursuit operations against NPA members who seized on Easter Sunday, 117 firearms from the armory of the Davao Prison and Penal Farm.

"If the government orders a resumption of peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF, we (military) will abide by the policy," he said.

Brig. Gen. Carlos Holganza, chief of the Army's 1001st Infantry Brigade, whose unit covers most areas of the southeastern Mindanao region, said he would also abide with what the national government would decide.

"If there is such (ceasefire and peace talks), (There is) no problem. We will abide," said.

He told MindaNews in a telephone interview that the declaration of a truce would always “come from the top, which they will just have to abide with once it is there”.

Holganza said, however, they would not likely recommend a ceasefire now with the communist rebels. "There is no need for now. It will be a disadvantage for the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).

He said the military was already moving forward in the campaign and claimed
the NPA was losing the fight. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)