Hold your fire, solon urges NPA, AFP

PLEASE respect the ceasefire especially now while the country is battling the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

This was the appeal of Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles to both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and New People’s Army (NPA).

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ceasefire at this time when the world is experiencing a health crisis.

An Army soldier and an alleged fighter of the NPA were killed in a clash in Montalban, Rizal on Saturday. The town is part of Nograles’ district.

According to Captain Jayrald Ternio of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, an estimated 30 NPA rebels attacked a group of 18 soldiers in Barangay Puray at around 3 p.m. on Saturday.

“Nananawagan tayo sa AFP at NPA—sundin po natin ang ceasefire. Mayroon tayong laban na mas malaki pa sa ideolohiya at paniniwala natin. Hindi natin ito masusugpo kung hindi tayo magkakaisa,” Nograles, a stalwart of Lakas-CMD, said.

A unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army is effective March 19 to April 15.

National Democratic Front consultant Jose Maria Sison, meanwhile, has also reportedly agreed to recommend that the rebels declare a unilateral truce with the government following the United Nations’ call for a global truce amid the pandemic.

“We need a united front if we are to survive this pandemic,” Nograles said.

The solon urged representatives of both the government and the NPA to maintain open communication lines and to reassure the public that a truce would be observed.

“We simply cannot operate under an air of mistrust. It is counterproductive. Ang kailangan natin, total focus sa kasalukuyang kaaway, na hindi kapwa Filipino, kundi virus,” he added.