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‘We need a united front vs coronavirus:’ Nograles urges AFP, CPP-NPA to respect ceasefire

“We need a united front if we are to survive this pandemic,” said Nograles.

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House assistant majority floor leader Fidel Nograles (Rizal) has called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) to respect their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations amid efforts to battle COVID-19 crisis.

Nograles’ remarks came after a member of the Philippine Army (PA) and a communist insurgent from the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed during a clash in Montalban, Rizal on last Saturday.

“Nananawagan tayo sa AFP at NPA—sundin po natin ang ceasefire. Mayroon tayong laban na mas malaki pa sa ideolohiya at paniniwala natin,” said Nograles.

“Hindi natin ito masusugpo kung hindi tayo magkakaisa,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier has declared a unilateral ceasefire with the communist insurgent effective March 19 to April 15 due to the Luzon lockdown brought by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to further avert the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

CCP founder Jose Maria Sison, meanwhile, has also reportedly agreed to recommend that the rebels declare a unilateral truce with the government following the United Nations’ call for a global truce amid the pandemic.

Captain Jayrald Ternio of the public affairs office of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division said an estimated 30 NPA rebels attacked a group of 18 soldiers in Barangay Puray in Montalban past 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The House official urged representatives of both the government and the communist rebels to maintain open communication lines and to reassure the public that a truce would be observed.

“We need a united front if we are to survive this pandemic,” said Nograles.

“We simply cannot operate under an air of mistrust. It is counterproductive. Ang kailangan natin, total focus sa kasalukuyang kaaway, na hindi kapwa Filipino, kundi virus,” he added.

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