March 24, 2020
Balay Mindanaw appreciates the unilateral ceasefire declaration by the government with the New People’s Army, which seeks to ensure that the prompt provision of public health assistance and movement of health workers go unimpeded as the country faces the threats of COVID-19.
Balay Mindanaw likewise acknowledges the recommendation of a unilateral ceasefire by the National Democratic Front as response to the call for a global ceasefire by United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres.
As of March 24, health officials documented 552 confirmed COVID-19 cases with at least 35 fatalities in the country.
Thousands of Filipinos are also under strict quarantine after being listed as either patients under investigation (PUI) or persons under monitoring (PUM).
It is with this grave concern that Balay Mindanaw and its partner communities appeal to the government and the NDF to ensure that the unilateral ceasefire declarations will be enforced to avoid unnecessary hostilities that would affect the efforts in preventing the further spread of the disease.
We are hopeful that the Parties would eventually establish ceasefire mechanisms and guidelines and would provide a space for local governments and communities to take part in enforcing it.
Balay Mindanaw is optimistic that this suspension of hostilities, although not reciprocal, would generate a momentum that would bring both Parties back to the negotiating table.
We pray that by waging this one big fight against COVID-19 together we will emerge victorious and see that peace is another battle we can only win as one.
March 24, 2020