Malacañang asked the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to order their comrades on the ground to “walk the talk”.
“We ask the NDF to call on their armed comrades on the ground to walk the talk and to show genuine sincerity on the confidence-building measure initiated by the government and their side,” Palace Spokes Ernesto Abella said on Monday, June 19, a day after the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the communists, attacked a police station in Iloilo and carted away firearms.
The raid in Maasin happened even after the communist leadership ordered its ground troops to refrain from undertaking operations in Mindanao in the wake of the conflict in Marawi City.
Abella described the attack on Sunday, June 17, as “unfortunate” because it was the same day that the government “reciprocated the National Democratic Front’s declaration to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao” by issuing a similar order to its troops.
Peace panel chairman Silvestre Bello III said, however, that despite this, the government would not launch offensives against the communist rebels.
“Although the attack was not in Mindanao, the act was opportunistic in nature and disregards the nature of the NDF declaration,” Abella said.
In a statement released on Monday, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said the attack has a negative impact on the peace talks.
“It is disheartening to note that such attacks provide a negative impact in our mutual commitment with the NDF to provide that enabling environment conducive to the continuation of peace negotiations with them,” Dureza said.