MANILA—Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Peace Panel Chief Negotiator Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday said efforts to achieve lasting peace continue despite the recent attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA) in North Cotabato and Abra.
“We believe the fresh wave of NPA assaults will not put in peril our desire to pursue peace,” he said in a statement.
Bello added, “We remain firm and confident that we can still proceed according to the agreement we just signed in Utrecht to swiftly restore our respective ceasefires while we work on the terms of an interim bilateral ceasefire agreement.”
Bello said both parties are still pursuing the peace talks and have agreed to investigate the recent incidents.
“We are really saddened by these unfortunate incidents. We have communicated with our counterparts and they vowed to look into it. In the meantime, we urge combatants to exercise restraint,” he said.
On Sunday, five policemen were injured after NPA attacked a police station in Barangay Poblacion, Malibcong town by detonating an improvised bomb.
A day after the North Cotabato incident, armed men burned a passenger bus in Sitio Silang Barangay, Brgy. San Vicente, town of Makilala.
The bus was then carrying 17 passengers and was bound for Davao City from Marbel, South Cotabato.