Truce breach won’t stop gov’t from pushing peace with rebels—Aquino

The Mindoro Post

President Benigno Aquino on Monday said his administration remains committed to forging peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) despite alleged truce violations by the rebels.

“At the very least, the government will demonstrate its sincerity in trying to achieve peace through dialogue rather than violence,” said Aquino.

“We will do what we have to do,” said the President as he admitted that he was disappointed over the incident.

The military accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of twice violating the 18-day bilateral Yuletide ceasefire.

Military spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta said the NPA rebels broke the truce in Negros and in Mindoro.

On December 23, the rebels allegedly opened fire on a squad of Army troops waiting to receive an NPA member, identified as Christian Corpuz Bascos, who wanted to surrender at Sitio Upper Balading, Barangay Bayotbot in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

Before this, NPA guerrillas in Negros allegedly tried to assassinate a government militiaman.

Despite the alleged violations, Mabanta said the military will continue to adhere to the holiday ceasefire agreement, which began on December 16 and will end on January 3.

“When SOMO expires, we will continue our usual conduct of offensive operations, but at the back of our minds . . . we are looking forward to the peace talks. That is important to us,” Mabanta said.

Aquino said he already ordered the military and the police to remain vigilant in maintaining peace and order in the country.

After being stalled for more than five years, formal negotiations between government and the National Democratic Front are expected to resume in mid-February in Norway. With a report from Anthony Vargas, DateLine Philippines

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