Bishop urges military, Reds to halt clashes

Bishop urges military, Reds to halt clashes

By Roy Lagarde

August 6, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has expressed concern over the looming escalation of violence on Negros Island

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos urged a halt in clashes between the state forces and the communist rebels and called for negotiation to resolve the conflict.

“Our people have suffered more than enough. Let us stop the cycle of violence by going back to the negotiating table and pursue a just and lasting peace,” Alminaza said.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Aug. 2 ordered the military a tit-for-tat action against the New People’s Army, whom he blamed for the spate of killings in Negros Oriental.

He also threatened to impose martial law in the region to quell lawless violence.

The rebels, however, denied responsibility for the killings and pointed their fingers on the policemen.

They also announced intensified offensives against the state forces “in order to punish those responsible for the killings of civilians”.

Bishop Alminaza appealed to both parties “not to counter violence with violence”.

The prelate said he understands the animosities and anger between the military and the rebels who are “burning with rage and desire for revenge”.

“Thus, all the more I appeal to all – please think of our people, especially the poor who are now and will continue to be affected by the bloody conflicts,” he added.

“Let’s devote our energy, efforts, and resources in looking for a lasting solution to end the prevailing social injustice,” Alminaza also said.

The Philippine National Police has earlier deployed hundreds of commandos to Negros Oriental to help stop the bloodshed. CBCPNEWS