MANILA - The National Democratic Front (NDF) on Thursday said it is investigating the incident involving suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) who allegedly attacked government troops in Davao del Norte on Wednesday.
Fidel Agcaoili, one of the peace negotiators for NDF, said in a statement sent to ABS-CBN News that they have talked to government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello, who, in turn, has informed President Rodrigo Duterte.
According to Agcaoili, they have also asked a top NPA leader to explain what happened in Davao del Norte, wherein five members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were ambushed by suspected NPA rebels.
One of the victims died while four others were injured.
Agcaoili said the standing order for NPAs is not to attack but just be "on active defensive mode".
Bello has expressed sadness over the attack. He added that it is disheartening that the NPA failed to respect the ceasefire after just two days since it was declared.
He said they will wait for confirmation from the NDF regarding the incident.
"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," Bello said in a statement.
The NDF statement came after Duterte issued a warning to the group to honor the unilateral ceasefire, or else, he will be forced to take it back.
"Sabi ko sa kanya, give me an answer by tonight kasi 'pag tomorrow wala, tatanggalin ko 'yung (ceasefire), balik tayo sa away. 'Yan ang gusto niyo, eh di (sige). If you do not honor (the ceasefire) and you kill a single soldier or a CAFGU, ay sabi ko, kalimutan na natin 'to. Fight na lang," Duterte said.
The formal talks between the government and the NDF are set to resume August 20-27 in Oslo, Norway. - with a report from Danny Buenafe, ABS CBN Europe News Bureau