MANILA - National Democratic Front (NDF) panel chair Fidel Agcaoili on Tuesday said the unilateral ceasefire declared by communist rebels is still in place.
However, he blamed the recent skirmishes in Mindanao on the military and police, saying they "have become more aggressive after their success in the Makilala, Cotabato incident when they attacked an NPA (New People's Army) encampment."
Agcaoili, in a statement to ABS-CBN News, said communist rebels have only taken "an active defense posture" in response.
He also cautioned Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza from "raising the bogey of disunity among the ranks of the revolutionary movement."
"Sec. Dureza should not forget that we have had three rounds of formal talks (with another round scheduled in April 2017) and that we have made considerable advances towards forging the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms in order to meet the deadline set this year. We have also succeeded in exchanging tentative drafts for the comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms," Agcaoili said.
He added that the communist leadership is in full support of the peace negotiations.
"He should remember that the unilateral ceasefire declaration was in response to the GRP's promise of substantial releases of the sick, elderly, women and long term detainees, as well as the withdrawal of the military from communities, the fulfillment of which would have laid the firm basis for a stable ceasefire and encourage further the acceleration of the peace negotiations," he added.
Agcaoili said the communist movement will hold the government "responsible for anything untoward that would happen to the ongoing peace negotiations due to its bellicose statements."