ILOILO CITY, Mar 28 (PNA) –The Philippine Army on Friday urged the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to follow the example of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the peace signing with the government.

The MILF on Thursday signed a peace agreement with the government and coordinated in the conception of an autonomous Bangsamoro region.

Maj. Ray Tiongson, spokesperson of the Army’s Third Infantry Division (3ID) based in Capiz, said in an interview that the agreement is a welcome development that promises lasting peace for a region torn apart by years of political strife.

“The NPA should follow this kind of endeavor,” Tiongson said, adding that resolution through dialogues with the government can help achieve the common goal of attaining a peaceful and progressive society.

The army official extended the 3ID’s congratulations to the Moro community and lauded the Muslims in Western Visayas for their support to the agreement.

He also urged the NPA to abandon its decades-long armed struggle, seeing that its organizational structure is beginning to dwindle after the arrest of its top leaders last week and its alleged low recruitment rate.

The armed group must instead cooperate with the government “to ensure a good future for the next generation.”

Meanwhile, army units in Panay Island are on red alert status for the rebel group’s 45th anniversary slated March 29.

Tiongson said the 3ID is closely monitoring areas of concern in Panay and Negros that are saturated by NPA elements.

Earlier, Brig. Gen. Arnold Quiapo of the 301st Infantry Battalion said that NPA activity reaches its peak during its anniversary, thus necessitating extra security measures.

The army will be closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police in securing vital government installations and buildings, Tiongson said.

He added that they will implement a strict campaign against the proliferation of firearms. (PNA)