By Genalyn D. Kabiling
The government is still committed to pursuing peace negotiations with the communist group despite the recent rebel attack on a police station in Iloilo.
The communist leaders, however, must show “firmer” resolve to rein in their fighters from attacking government forces as earlier promised, according to Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.
“As of this moment, there is no instruction from the President to discontinue the government’s peace negotiations,” Abella said in a Palace news conference.
Abella said it was “unfortunate” the NPA rebels attacked the police station on the same day the government reciprocated the National Democratic Front’s declaration to refrain from offensives in Mindanao.
He said the rebel attack did not occur in Mindanao but the action was still “clearly opportunistic.”
“We have asked the NDF to call on their servant — on their armed comrades on the ground to, you know, to respond in kind and show genuine sincerity on the confidence- building measure initiated by both the government and their side,” he said.
“So basically, we want a firmer response,” he said.
Around 50 NPA rebels raided a police station in Maasin, Iloilo on broad daylight last Sunday. No was injured but the suspects reportedly stole firearms, cash and other items.
The Iloilo provincial director was ordered relieved after the armed attack on the police station.
The rebel attack came just as the government and NDF peace panels announced a cessation of offensives in Mindanao so troops could redirect energy on operations against the Maute group in Marawi City.