MANILA –The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is more than willing to partner with the rebels in the delivery of relief goods and services to Filipinos severely affected by the magnitude 6.7 earthquake in Surigao City and nearby provinces.
This was stressed by AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo in an interview Tuesday.
He said this announcement serves as an invitation to New People’s Army (NPA) forces who earlier declared a unilateral ceasefire in Surigao Del Norte and Agusan Del Norte to facilitate the relief efforts of the government.
“This is an open invitation to show to the people that if for a good cause, if it is to benefit our people we can work together,” Arevalo added in Filipino.
The AFP, he stressed, is willing to cooperate with groups or organizations, who can bring peace, order, and prosperity to the nation.
“(Should NPA accept the invitation to help in relief efforts), there will be no restriction on how long these activities can be done. But we hope that they will join us, they can tell us, and probably we could make arrangements for them,” Arevalo said.
Last Sunday, the Regional Command of the New People’s Army in North Eastern Mindanao Region (ROC-NPA-NEMR) declared a unilateral ceasefire in Surigao Del Norte and the municipalities of Cabadbaran, Tubay, Jabonga and Santiago in Agusan del Norte.
“This temporary ceasefire in areas covered by NPA Front 16, which started last Feb. 11, 2017 and will end at 11:55 in the evening of February 20, 2017, is being declared because of the intensity 6.7 earthquake on the night of Feb. 10, 2017,” said ROC-NPA-NEMR spokesperson Ka Ariel Montero.
He added the ceasefire is declared to give NPA fighters in Front 16, all government agencies, including the police and the AFP, and non-government organizations, the opportunity to inspect the areas affected, especially the mountain areas, for damages resulting from the earthquake.