The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) reiterated its previous declaration that it stands firmly with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in opposing and fighting terrorism in the country.
In a statement, NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoil said it is willing to fight terrorist groups as well as acts of terrorism by the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and Ansar Al Khalifah Philippines (AKP) in parts of Mindanao, particularly in and around Marawi City where fighting has been raging for nearly four weeks already.
“As a matter of fundamental principle and constant policy, we condemn and combat terrorism. By terrorism, we mean actions that intimidate, terrorize, harm and murder civilians solely or mainly and in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” the NDFP said.
The NDFP said the three bands are “terrorist groups linked to local reactionary forces, affiliated with ISIS and supported by US-CIA and other foreign entities.”
The NDFP also said it has already instructed its allied organization, the Moro Resistance and Liberation Organization (MRLO), inside Marawi City to assume home defense tasks against the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and AKP groups.
It added the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has also directed units of the New People’s Army (NPA) close to Marawi City to redeploy for the purpose of mopping up, holding and blocking operations, if necessary.
“The NDFP is ready to discuss and agree in detail with the GRP on how ceasefire, coordination and cooperation can be achieved in Marawi City by both forces unilaterally keeping safe distances between each other,” it said.
The NDFP said it has recommended to the CPP to order all other NPA units in Mindanao to refrain from carrying out offensive operations against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to enable all forces to concentrate against the three terror groups.
It added that the GRP must also order the AFP and PNP to refrain from carrying out offensive operations against the NPA and its adjunct people’s militia to give chance for the coordination and cooperation to work against the terror groups.
The NDFP panel first offered help in fighting the Maute and Abu Sayyaf in Marawi last June 1, a week after fighting broke out in the besieged city.
President Rodrigo Duterte said the NDFP’s proposal was a sign of goodwill but turned down the offer.
In offering to help fight the terror groups, the NDFP said it wants to allow the affected communities to return to normalcy as soon as possible.
“The rights and interests of the masses and communities must be respected and promoted,” it said, urging the GRP to ensure that the level of counteraction against terrorism, as well as the nature, scope and duration must be appropriate and proportional to the degree of danger, threat and/or harm and mayhem being committed by the terrorist groups in Marawi City.
“Upon the success of the counter-terrorist measures, these must cease in order to allow normalcy and full respect for human rights as soon as possible,” the NDFP said.
Yesterday, Lt. Col. Emmanuel Garcia, commander of the 4th Civil Relations Group told reporters the number of deaths has risen to 310, including government troops, terrorists and civilians.
GRP Department of Health secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial for her part said there are 218,551 people displaced by the fighting but only about 20,000 of them are staying in evacuation centers. # (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured Image by Jaja Necosia-The Breakaway Media)