The Daily Manila Shimbun


(UPDATE) Duterte cancels truce with Reds

February 3, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte ended on Friday the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front and ordered the military to be ready to fight. Duterte said he was dismayed that despite his efforts to end a nearly 50-year insurgency problem, this may not happen in this generation due to the "unreasonable demands" of the Maoist group. The Maoist group decided to end its own ceasefire effective 11:59pm on February 10. The leftist rebels cited the failure of the Duterte administration to grant amnesty and release some 400 political detainees. He said on Thursday the government lost six soldiers and an officer from an ambush allegedly perpetrated by the NPA, the armed wing of the CPP-NDF, prompting him to consult with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief General Eduardo Ano. He also cited the abduction of three soldiers by the NPA rebels. “Last night, I decided, I called (up) General Ano and said I lifted the ceasefire tonight. No more ceasefire,” he said. "And because I have lost so many soldiers in just 48 hours, I think to continue with the ceasefire does not or will not produce anything," Duterte said. "​Therefore, I am asking the soldiers - go back to your camps, clean your rifles and be ready to fight. I am sorry, but that is how it is," he stressed. "Take your position and be alert." Ano, in a text message to reporters before a press conference, said the lifting of the truce took effect at 3 pm right after Duterte’s speech. “The president made the announcement about 3 pm this afternoon so that is actually the effectivity,” said Ano. “We shall abide by the president’s order of ending the unilateral ceasefire. It is unfortunate that the gains of the last six months would come to a halt because the CPP-NPA resorted to the use of violence and chose arms to advance their interests,” Ano said. Duterte lamented the "breakdown" of the truce. Ano said the “last four days were disdaining and disturbing” as the rebels attacked “while National Democratic Front chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili was assuring the public through media that the CPP-NDF-NPA will continue the unilateral ceasefire.” "I thought all the while that we have a ceasefire. Suddenly they (CPP-NPA-NDF) lifted it because the Communist Party of the Philippines would want to release 400 prisoners," Duterte said. "But you know with that number, that is only can be given by amnesty. I do not own the Republic of the Philippines. Though I am the Number 1, I do not decide alone. I consult people, particularly the military and the police," he said, branding the demands of the leftist rebel group as "unreasonable." Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: “It is regretful that what waa a promising start to achieving peace has ended in the eruption of violence which emanated from the other party.” Duterte said at the start of the peace process between the government and the NDF, the political wing of the communist group, his administration released their detained leaders, such as Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, so they could join the negotiations. Duterte said he would have wanted to reach a peace settlement with the leftist rebels, but just like the lyrics of a song, “I tried my best was not good enough.” “So as I see it, there will be no peace in this land vis-a-vis with the communist party," he said. Duterte added: "I would have wanted very much. I really want to because it's about 50 years in the making. That means, do you want another 50 years? No more ending? If you want there’s no more end, it’s okay. But let it not be said that I did not try. So I guess that peace with the communist cannot be realized during our generation.” "So, I really would like to express my sadness, we cannot have a peaceful generation. There will always be fight." Duterte said this could be the "golden opportunity" to come up with a peace agreement because he also came from the left. Celerina Monte, Robina Asido/DMS