No ceasefire — Palace

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — NO ceasefire especially against recalcitrant and renegade fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the observance next month of the Holy month of Ramadan.

Thus said Press Secretary Jesus Dureza.

Dureza, however, clarified that the police and military operations will be carried out with great sensitivity in the wake of the Ramadan.

Dureza also slammed militant groups for what he branded as their deafening silence over the atrocities and violations of human rights by MILF rogue fighters.

He noted that the adherence to advocacies to human rights is universal, pointing out he is saddened by the militants’ silence which could be construed as a condonation of the violent and terrorist acts of the MILF.

Also Dureza said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo tasked Health Secretary Francisco Duque to intensify assistance to residents affected by the Mindanao conflicts especially in the wake of the Ramadan, adding the DOH chief should closely coordinate with the Mindanao Economic Council for the needed logistical requirements to be sourced out from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

He said that additional funding will be downloaded to the growing number of residents affected by the military and police operations against wanted commanders of the MILF.

He said that the President has tasked officials of the NDCC to “hit the ground” more intensively to address the growing needs of affected residents.

The amounts of funding, Dureza said, would be the appropriate figure.

He said that the President has welcomed the offer of donor countries for their humanitarian assistance which will continue during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Dureza also advised the Reformed Ilaga group to follow the rule of law and to shy away from taking the law into their own hands.

He said that the police authorities would be the ones to deal with those who will defy the law and fight on their own the MILF fighters.

Earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita asked the MILF hierarchy to cut off its tactical ties with the New People’s Army (NPA) so as not to be tagged eventually by the United States of America, United Nations and European Union as a terror group along with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the NPA.

He noted that the U.S., UN and EU has tagged the CPP NPA as a foreign.

Ermita also clarified that the objective of the military operations during the Ramadan is to account for the renegade Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders Commanders “Umbra Kato” and “Bravo” who had torched houses in a number of villages and killed several innocent civilians including children, women and the elderly.

Under the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan starts Sept. 1 and ends Sept. 30 this year.

Reiterating the government’s crackdown on the forces of Commanders Umbra Kato and Bravo, President Arroyo said that the rampage of lawless MILF elements calls for resolute military and police action.

The President stressed that the P10-million reward for Commanders Kato amid Bravo manifests the government’s firm resolve to hasten the neutralization of these criminals so that justice can be achieved and we can move on with the peace process.”