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Army not keen on holiday truce with rebels

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division is not inclined to recommend ceasefire against the New People’s Army in Western and Central Visayas, its spokesperson, Maj. Cenon Pancito, said yesterday.

Stressing that they have not seen a grain of sincerity on the part of the CPP-NPA for so long, Pancito said, “What we have observed is that the NPA used to take advantage of the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) to extort and recruit in the communities freely”.

He recalled that the rebels violated the ceasefire declared at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Western Visayas.

“Inasmuch as we also want to be with our families on the holidays, the preservation of peace is of utmost importance,” Pancito stressed.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday he will leave to the discretion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines whether or not a ceasefire will be recommended in Negros Island.

“It’s always a question of trust,” Lacson said, as he noted that armed clashes between the NPA and government forces even took place while both sides were observing ceasefire during the yuletide season in previous years.

“If the military does not trust them, we will have to respect their views since they are the ones facing the enemy, while we are at home and feeling safe,” he said.

“So, I would gave way to the recommendation of the military,” Lacson added.

On the other hand, the NPA Racle Mae Palang Command laughed off military claims of having dismantled the South East Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol Siquijor, stressing that the military failed to wipe out any NPA unit in southeast Negros.

Not even one recent encampment was seized, nor cadres, or Red commanders captured, its spokesperson Estrella Banagbanag said in a statement. Various units of the RMPC expanded in membership and enhanced its politico-military capacity through trainings, study sessions, and conferences, Banagbanag added.*

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