The Daily Manila Shimbun


Reds declare termination of unilateral truce

February 1, 2017

The leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) declared on Wednesday that it is terminating its unilateral interim ceasefire, citing the Duterte administration's failure to fulfill its promises.

In a statement, the Central Committee of the CPP and the National Operations Command of the NPA said the unilateral truce declared on August 28, 2016 "shall effectively expire on 11:59 p.m. of February 10."

The leftist rebel group cited several reasons for terminating the truce, one of them is the failure of the Philippine government to grant amnesty and release all political prisoners under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

"The unilateral ceasefire declaration was issued on the mutual understanding with the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) that such releases will take effect within 60 daysof August 28," the group said..

It said it was the context why the government panel approached the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the political wing of the Maoist group, towards the end of October last year seeking an extension of the CPP-NPA's declaration with a promise that around 200 political prisoners were set to be released.

"The Duterte regime failed to fulfill such obligation even though the CPP obliged it by extending the ceasefire declaration to more than 150 days," it said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that his administration has given much already to the demands of the leftist group. He has said that he would only release some 200 political detainees if the government and the NDFP peace panels could present to him a signed document declaring a bilateral truce.

The respective ceasefire declarations of the government and the NDFP were both unilateral.

The communist rebels also accused the government of "treacherously taken advantage" of the unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire "to encroach on the territory of the people's democratic government."

They said that across 164 municipalities and 43 provinces, the government armed forces have occupied at least 500 villages which they claimed are "within the authority of the revolutionary government."

"The suspension of military operations (SOMO) and suspension of police operations (SOPO) issued by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) as basis of the GRP’s unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire have served as license for its armed troops, police personnel, paramilitary units and death squads to engage in hostile actions, provocations or movements, surveillance and other offensive operations that are labelled as 'peace and development', 'civil-military', 'peace and order', 'anti drugs campaign,' 'medical missions' or 'law enforcement'," the CPP-NPA said.

But as the communist rebels terminate the unilateral declaration of ceasefire, they said that they continue to support the peace negotiations within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.

"In our experience and in the experience of other peoples, it is possible to negotiate while fighting until the substantive agreements are forged  to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace," they said.

The rebels stressed that they oppose the use of interim ceasefires as basis for a protracted or indefinite ceasefire without substantial benefit for the people and their revolutionary forces  and for laying aside peace negotiations on substantive issues such as social, economic and political reforms.

The CPP-NPA said NDFP peace panel will provide on Wednesday the the government peace panel with the notice terminating its own truce.

While the lifting of the truce is not yet effective, the leadership of the leftist rebel group ordered all commands and units of the NPA, including the people’s militia and self-defense corps, "to take initiative and more vigorously carry out active defense in order to defend the people and revolutionary forces."

The NPA combatants were also directed to counteract, frustrate and punish the government forces interior patrol operations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines psywar operations under Oplan Kapayapaan, the military units occupying villages and communities and enemy armed offensives posing as anti-drug and anti-crime operations.

After the expiration of the unilateral truce, the CPP-NPA ordered its units to "take  full initiative in planning, coordinating and carrying out military campaigns and tactical offensives" against the government troopers and death squads of the Duterte government,  drug traffickers and operators of the drug trade and large-scale gambling, private armies and private armed groups of warlords, local tyrants as well as spies. Celerina Monte/DMS