The declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by the New People’s Army (NPA) in quake-hit areas in Surigao del Norte and parts of Agusan del Norte was a “good move,” the military said on Monday.
“We welcome this expression within the portion of the ranks of the NPA. Ipinapakita lang nito na may bahagi ng NPA na nararamdaman na mas higit nilang gusto na yumakap sa kapayapaan (This shows that a part of NPA wanted to embrace peace),” Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.
The NPA in North Eastern Mindanao Region on Monday declared a temporary unilateral ceasefire in Surigao del Norte and quake-hit areas in Agusan del Norte from Feb. 11 to 11:55 p.m. of Feb. 20 to give way to relief operations.
A strong 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck Surigao del Norte last Friday which has left eight people killed so far.
Arevalo said the temporary ceasefire by the NPA was “a good move” and they were happy that the communist rebels responded to their calls of sparing soldiers doing relief operations.
“There remains people who have good intentions, who have good desire at nagpapakita ng pagmamalasakit sa kapwa (show compassion for fellow countrymen),” Arevalo said.
He also urged the NPA to help out in relief operations and hoped they would do similar acts in the future.
“We hope this will not happen only during calamities. Malay natin (Who knows) a repetition of similar actions may lead to the resumption of the peace talks,” Arevalo said.
President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks early this month following the collapse of the unilateral ceasefires of the government and communist rebels.