• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
While it supported the joint statement of the government and National Democratic Front for a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict, the Philippine Army said it appreciates the exploratory talks with “guarded optimism.”
Army chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, in a statement, said that while the NDFP pursues peaceful means to resolve and address social reforms, “we expect as well, the remaining members of the CPP-NPA to lay down their arms,” and follow its lead.
Galido described the exploratory talks as a significant breakthrough, which symbolizes the collective efforts of all sectors of the society.
While there is no final peace framework, he also stressed that the Philippine Army would still continue its efforts to sustain the gains in Internal Security Operations by dismantling the weakened guerilla fronts and neutralizing the remaining armed groups.
In Negros Island, the remaining Central Negros 1 and guerilla fronts and South West Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor (KR-NCBS) have been classified by the 3rd Infantry Division as “weakened” guerilla fronts, with the deaths or surrender of many of their members, as a result of intensified focused military operations of the 303rd and 302nd Infantry Brigades.
The National Democratic Front Negros has expressed its support to the restart of peace talks between the Philippine government and NDFP.
It urged the release of NDFP consultants Frank Fernandez, Cleofe Lagtapon and Ramon Patriarca, who are described by the Philippine Army as former top officials of KR-NCBS.*