No unilateral ceasefire: Bello. 4th Round starts on 2nd April in the Netherlands. Government committed to everlasting peace.

Ceasefire only bilateral, if agreed. sulong

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They did it before but did not get a matching response; in fact, it was opposite of what they expected. Once bitten twice shy might be the ruling policy for some time to come where the communists are involved

The government had, in the first place, unilaterally declared a ceasefire expecting a more enthusiastic approach by the reds. The violent response from the reds was an anticlimax and a challenge which the reds posed.

The reds cannot take the administration taken for a ride all over again.

Consequently, government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III does not want to declare a unilateral ceasefire. The reason is simple, “We see no reason to declare a unilateral ceasefire” says Bello.

But, President Duterte will not fall in that trap again. There was speculation and hints that Duterte should, or will, again declare a unilateral ceasefire before the fourth round of talks get underway next month in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the government would be interested if there was a proposal for a bilateral ceasefire. Speaking to newsmen at a press conference on Friday at Malacanang, the Labor secretary declared that the government wanted peace.

Moreover, the peace talks will go ahead in spite of the refusal of the government to declare a unilateral truce. The talks will take place from April 2 to 6 at Netherlands in an ongoing quest for enduring peace.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) keeps playing games making declarations regarding declaring and then retracting.

Nobody says anything about morals and principles since money is supreme for the extortionists. The revolutionary funds that they collect cater to the expenses of their organization, their guerillas and the families.

Had the communists kept their word, they would have declared a unilateral ceasefire today; but, they followed the government line. So, quite conveniently, there is no ceasefire.

NDF openly blamed the attacks by the Armed Forces for not announcing ceasefire; not a convincing argument by any yardstick.

But, Bello clarified that the initiative for a joint ceasefire came from the NDF and the government agreed. This request came directly from the NDF chair Fidel Agcaoili.

Therefore, the two sides may be able to thrash out some sort of consensus during the upcoming talks, Bello stated. Once drafted, the ceasefire would work to put an end to hostilities between the AFP and the rebels.

The government has always been pursuing the path of attaining everlasting peace so that its citizens can prosper. The armed conflict is an impediment in the way of prosperity and development of the nation.

In addition, the current talks will focus on the topics that are under discussion from the earlier three rounds. The idea is to strike at the root causes of the age-old conflict and adopt progressive steps to implement them.

The central idea behind the negotiations is to unite the Filipino nation so that we can march united towards progress. However, Bello was categorical in stating that the tough part of the negotiations is just beginning.
But, our government remains committed to follow the path of peace persistently.

Ever since the President took up the reigns of the government, he has been following the path of peace.

In conclusion, Bello, the Secretary of Labor hoped that inclusive, just and lasting peace may be quite near.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
Friday, March 31, 2017