The Daily Manila Shimbun


Palace says military to uphold unilateral ceasefire with communists

February 1, 2017

Malacanang said on Wednesday that the military will uphold the unilateral ceasefire despite the cancellation of its own truce by the communist rebels, effective February 11.

"The Department of National Defense will continue to observe the government's unilateral ceasefire, at the same time enforce the campaign to protect civilians from harm and terrorism," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

Abella  added President Rodrigo Duterte “will continue to exercise strong political will to move forward with the peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF, despite the revocation of the unilateral ceasefire by the NPA. “

Earlier, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said he will recommend to Duterte to uphold the government's unilateral declaration of ceasefire.

In a statement, the top peace official admitted the government is dismayed of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front's cancellation of its unilateral ceasefire.

"We are dismayed with the announcement of New People's Army spokesman Ka Oris withdrawing their unilateral ceasefire effective Feb. 10," he said.

Dureza added: "We respect their decision."

Dureza said cancellation of the truce came after some progress was made in the third round of talks in Italy last month.

During the recent talks, the government and the NDF, the political wing of the CPP/NPA, peace panels agreed to discuss a bilateral truce in the Netherlands this month.

"On the part of  the office of the presidential peace adviser, we will respectfully recommend to President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the government continues to maintain and uphold the unilateral ceasefire to sustain the peace in the communities where  our people desire to live in peace," Dureza said.

He said maintaining the government's truce will “provide an enabling and conducive environment to the on-going peace talks.”

Dureza said he will also recommend government forces to “continue to be relentless in their campaign to protect the civilians from harm and terrorism.”

"We agree that the situation with various incidents on the ground, had become untenable to sustain without the guidelines and protocols that a bilateral ceasefire provides. This gives more impetus and encouragement to our earnest  task of forging a sustainable ceasefire agreement," he said.

Dureza hoped a peace settlement with the communist rebels could be forged immediately. Celerina Monte/DMS