Philippine Government (GPH) Panel Chair Secretary Silvestre Bello III confronted a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) panel following the New People’s Army’s (NPA) alleged ambush of government forces down south.
However, the “explanation” that he received from the panel member, Fidel Agcaoili, was basically an empty one.
“He (Bello) was informed that as far as he (Agcaoili) knows, the NPA is on active defense mode since July 26 as announced by Ka Oris. He (Agcaoili) , however, promised Sec. Bello to look into the matter,” a statement from Bello’s office read.
In response, Bello said that the Duterte administration would await NDF’s verification of the incident.
The NDF is the negotiating arm of the CPP while the NPA is its military group.
The ambush Wednesday (July 27) in Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan, Davao del Norte, took place just two days after President Rodrigo Duterte announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) a unilateral ceasefire against the Reds.
The attack led to the killing one CAFGU member and wounding four others.
“I strongly reiterate the call of President Duterte to the CPP/NPA/NDF to reciprocate government’s ceasefire declaration in order to immediately stop violence on the ground, protect our communities from conflict and provide an enabling environment for the resumption of formal peace negotiations,” said Bello, who is also the current administration’s Labor secretary.
The peace talks between the government and the communists are expected to resume on August 20-27 in Oslo, Norway.