During the first round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway held in August, both parties agreed to “reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral document within 60 days.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Amid the ongoing ceasefire, a New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla was arrested, Sept. 19 in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.
Jeffrey Delos Reyes, 31, was arrested by armed men in plainclothes, according to Buhay na Alay para sa Nagkakaisang Mindoro (Bayanimo). The authorities did not present any warrant of arrest to Delos Reyes before he was brought to Camp Navarro in barangay Suqui, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro.
Delos Reyes was transferred to the Provincial Jail in Calapan City on Sept. 20. He was charged with two counts of murder, frustrated murder and arson.
Pastor Glofie Baluntong, Bayanimo spokesperson, maintained that the arrest of Delos Reyes is “an attempt to sabotage the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).”
Duterte has declared an indefinite unilateral ceasefire last month as a confidence-building measure for the resumption of GRP-NDFP talks.
In a statement sent to Bulatlat, Delos Reyes said, “Duterte should discipline his men who clearly violate the government’s ceasefire declaration.”
Delos Reyes slammed the filing of common crimes against him, saying that previous agreements between the GRP and NDFP prohibit such practice. The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) http://www.opapp.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Comprehensive%20Agreement%20on%20Respect%20for%20Human%20Rights%20and%20International%20Law.pdf binds both parties to the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Moreover, the Hernandez political doctrine states that political dissenters should not be charged with common crimes but with only one crime of rebellion.
Military operations continue
Several groups reported continuing military operations in different parts of the country.
According to the local chapter of human rights alliance Karapatan in Quezon province, elements of the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion have set up checkpoints in Lopez and Macalelon towns. The group said soldiers were also deployed in San Francisco and San Andres towns.
In Ifugao, elements of the Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion (IB) are conducting search and destroy operations in the municipalities of Asipulo and Tinoc, according to the New People’s Army (NPA)-Nona del Rosario Command.
Meanwhile, in Sorsogon, Bicol Today reported http://bicoltoday.com/2016/09/20/afp-military-operations-continue-in-sorsogons-villages/ that offensive military operations of the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion continue.
Military troops are still operating in barangays Sinibaran, Bon-ot, Coron-coron, Cabagahan and Bariis in the town of Matnog, in barangay San Antonio in Barcelona and in barangays Sangat, Cabigaan and Tiris in Gubat town.
In a statement sent to Bulatlat, Ka Wigan Moncontad of the NPA-Ifugao said that while the CPP lauds the Duterte administration for declaring an indefinite ceasefire, the commander in chief should still ensure that the order is being carried out on the ground.
Moncontad said the NPA continues to be on active defense mode in light of the military’s continuing combat operations.
Extending the ceasefire
In a related development, the GRP-NDFP committees on ceasefire held preliminary talks Sept. 21 on the extension of their respective unilateral ceasefire and proposed agreement on a joint ceasefire.
Both parties have declared separate, unilateral ceasefire. During the first round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway held in August, both parties agreed to “reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral document within 60 days.”
Hernani Braganza, a member of the GRP peace panel, said initial agreements on the bilateral ceasefire will be fleshed out and formalized in the next round of formal talks scheduled from October 6 to 10 in Oslo.