OPAPP chief ‘extremely’ disturbed by NPA attacks

MANILA-- Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Jesus Dureza expressed on Tuesday concerns by the recent series of attacks and harassments allegedly perpetrated by the communist rebels.

"We are distressed and extremely disturbed by the recent series of attacks and harassments by alleged NPA elements in various areas nationwide," Dureza said in a press statement.

Despite the ongoing peace talks and mutually declared unilateral ceasefire between the government and National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army (NPA) communist rebels allegedly committed series of atrocities in the last two days including the abduction of Pfc. Erwin Salan of 30th Infantry Battalion in Surigao del Norte last January 29.

Last Monday, three members of the composite Peace and Development Team were wounded when communist rebels reportedly led by Pablo Logatiman alias Lucas fired at them in Surigao City.

"The unilateral ceasefire was precisely set in place to provide an enabling environment for the ongoing peace talks and also to secure the support of the stakeholders and the bigger public in understanding and supporting these unprecedented, although small but significant steps, for sustainable peace in the land," Dureza said.

Dureza said the government does not wish to "unnecessarily squander those gains that even saw President Duterte exercising strong political will to move the peace process forward."

"Either some in NDF leadership talking to the government are not in full control of their own forces on the ground or they are themselves undermining these efforts for sustainable peace, or pressuring government for certain concessions," he said.

Dureza said President Duterte will definitely walk the extra mile for peace.

"But our counterparts on the other side of the peace table must also reciprocate accordingly and do the same," Dureza said.

"The road to peace is not smooth and easy. Let us all help to successfully traverse it," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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