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CPP orders nationwide ceasefire in response to UN’s call

 

By Zea Capistrano

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines on Tuesday night has issued an order to all units of the New People’s Army (NPA) to observe a nationwide unilateral ceasefire starting midnight of March 26, 2020 that will last until 11:59 p.m. of April 15, 2020.

(REUTERS/Erik De Castro / MANILA BULLETIN)

(REUTERS/Erik De Castro / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement posted on its website, the CPP said the move was made upon the recommendation of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in response “to the call of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire between warring parties for the common purpose of fighting the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic.”

The order, which will take effect immediately, also covers the people’s militias, the CPP said.

During the ceasefire period, “all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against “the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the GRP.”

“As advised by the NDFP Chief Political Consultant and relayed by the NDFP Negotiating Panel to the NDFP National Council, the broad masses of the people themselves need to refrain from launching tactical offensives to gain more time and opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to look after the health and over-all welfare of the people in both urban and rural areas,” it said.

The CPP added that the unilateral ceasefire aims to” ensure and facilitate necessary, unhampered, and immediate medical, health and economic assistance, support, and movement of the people” due to COVID-19.

It said the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire is also a “gesture towards national unity and based on humanitarian principles in the context of the serious public emergency to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all.”

The CPP said the ceasefire may also pave the way “towards a positive atmosphere conducive to the eventual holding of informal talks preparatory to the formal meeting to resume the peace negotiations.”

President Duterte had earlier declared a unilateral ceasefire with the communists as the government placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine last week due to the coronavirus disease.

In a televised press conference last week, Duterte appealed to the communist to let the government forces do their job amidst the public health emergency.

“Ceasefire muna tayo. Ako na ang naghihingi, ceasefire,” he said.

“If you really want that we will be at all times on talking terms, in this time of crisis, kindly cooperate and help. Mas mabuti pa tumulong muna kayo. I will repay you with a good heart in the coming days,” he said.

The government’s unilateral ceasefire took effect on midnight of March 19, 2020 until midnight of April 15, 2020.

The peace negotiations were expected to resume last January and February this year after government negotiators met with the NDFP Negotiating Panel, including CPP founder and NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison in Utrecht, Netherlands in December last year.

The parties agreed to recommend the declaration of mutual ceasefires from December 23rd until January 7th. The joint statement for the mutual ceasefires was signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Hernani Braganza for the GRP, and NDFP Negotiating Panel Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni and NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairman Fidel Agcaoili for the NDFP. The signing of the joint statement was witnessed by Kristina Lie Revheim, the third party facilitator from the Royal Norwegian Government.

The NDFP also called on the release of all political prisoners and the issuance of a general amnesty” as a matter of justice and necessity. ”

Read more: Duterte declares ceasefire with Reds amid COVID-19 pandemic



Source: Manila Bulletin

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