I am still here in Amsterdam and en route home after signing a joint statement with the leadership of the CPP/NPA/NDF and I am already getting disturbing reports of alleged atrocities by the NPAs like the recent burning of a bus in Makilala, North Cotabato.

There may be other similar incidents of the same nature somewhere else. May I inform everyone of the following:

1. The restoration of unilateral ceasefire that has been announced is NOT yet effective as of today as there is still a need to allow the government and the communist leaders to inform their respective ground forces accordingly. Except for the government forces where there is a tight command and control structure in place and directives from higher headquarters are downloaded expeditiously, the same is NOT true with the NPAs, for obvious reasons. Hence, the effectivity date shall commence as soon as both sides agree to a date specific (which should be anytime before the first week of April, 2017 , the agreed date for the fourth round of peace talks as contained in the Utrecht Joint Statement. The date specific will be accordingly announced.

2. I have informally raised across the negotiating table the matter of some possible eruption of incidents prior to the effectivity date hence the urgency of an early effectivity announcement considering my previous experience of similar situations in my earlier ceasefire negotiations with other groups ( e.g. Bangsamoro ) with some factions creating disturbances just to show defiance or merely as an attempt of projection of eminence by some of their elements.

3. Indeed, such incidents affect the over-all sentiments of peace- loving citizens who may even raise issues of good faith and may lead to questions as to whether or not rebel groups we are engaging in the peace tables are sincere or have control over their ground forces. Public acceptance ( or the lack of it) on the on- going peace process is critical, given the indispensable need of over-all stakeholders’ support to ensure success of our peace efforts.