20 June 2017

News Story: (Philippines) Gov’t, Reds commit to stop offensives

New People’s Army (NPA) rebels
By Jennifer Rendon

MANILA, Philippines -  The government will suspend offensives against communist rebels to pave the way for the resumption of formal peace talks, the chief negotiator announced yesterday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the move was meant to reciprocate a declaration of communist negotiators last Saturday that the New People’s Army (NPA) would stop attacks to allow the military to focus on the fight against Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Marawi. He did not say when the cessation of offensives would start.

Bello made the announcement hours after NPA rebels raided a police station in Iloilo’s Maasin town yesterday, seizing guns and robbing the police of personal belongings including cash, jewelry and laptops.

Last Saturday, the military killed three NPA members in Davao Oriental and two others in Compostela Valley.

“The Philippine government hereby correspondingly reciprocates with the same declaration of not undertaking offensive operations against the (NPA),” Bello declared.

In Maasin, officials said about 50 raiders arrived on a tarpaulin-covered truck, passing the town proper teeming with the usual Sunday crowd before stopping in front of the police station along Taft Street.

Initial reports said two women from the 50 heavily armed band entered the police station and pretended to file a blotter complaint. They surprised the nine policemen on duty at the precinct before announcing the attack.

Police reported no casualties, but the rebels took the weapons and personal belongings of the police including cash and laptops.

Read the full story at PhilStar