Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison asked President Rodrigo Duterte to give them time in reciprocating his unilateral ceasefire order he announced on Monday, July 25, during his first State of the Nation Address. Sison added that the CPP, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front of the Philippines have yet to study the terms of the said order.
“President Duterte should be patient and not expect quick surrenders from highly principled and experienced revolutionaries who have a growing mass base against the rotten ruling system of big compradors and landlords,” Sison said.
“It took at least three days for the Duterte government to make clear what is the content of its unilateral ceasefire order. The CPP and NDFP should be given enough time to study the implications and consequences of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) ceasefire order and what will soon be the unilateral order,” Sison added.
Sison also noted the delayed response on the part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to Duterte’s ceasefire order, which he said was “effective immediately” on July 25.
“But it would be only July 26 that the SOMO (suspension of offensive military operations) of the AFP would be issued, with no clarity about many things, like no end yet of the ongoing AFP national… campaigns against the NPA and also the occupation of Lumad communities, schools, health clinics and barangay halls,” he said.
“Only on July 27 did the PNP issue a SOPO (suspension of offensive police operations), which among other things, provided for the continuance of “legal offensives” (i.e. the trumping of false charges of common crimes against people suspended of being connected to the NPA) in violation of JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees), CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws) and the Hernandez political offense doctrine,” Sison said.
The CPP founder said that official papers regarding the unilateral ceasefire would only be exchanged during the start of the formal talks between the communist rebels and the government from August 20 to 27.
Duterte issues ultimatum after NPA attack
On July 27, two days after Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire order, the AFP reported that the NPA attacked a CAFGU unit in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, killing one militiaman and wounding four.
Duterte issued an ultimatum on Friday, July 29, to the CPP-NPA to give an explanation about the rebel attack and reciprocate the government’s ceasefire by 5pm on Saturday, July 30. If they fail to do so, he threatened to lift his ceasefire order.
Davao NPA claims AFP violated ceasefire order
The NPA in the Davao region accused the AFP for violating Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire order, GMA News Online reported.
Aris Francisco, spokesperson of the NPA Comval North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command, said that the CAFGU of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, as well as the armed members of the Alamara paramilitary group were on their way to attack the NPA before they were ambushed by the rebels.
“The fascist AFP deceived its own Commander-in-Chief by saying that the NPA violated the unilateral ceasefire when it waylaid the PDOP (Peace & Development Outreach Program) troops who were returning to their detachment in Sitio Patil, Barangay Gupitan. Nothing can be so farther from the truth,” Francisco said.
He noted how the AFP failed to say that “its troops were clearly on combat operation and not engaged in ‘civilian’ activities.”
Francisco then went on to say that the NPA only defended themselves by intercepting the CAFGU members.
“Had the Red fighters not taken the initiative to actively defend itself by intercepting the 72nd IB/Alamara troops, the operating AFP troops would have carried out its own combat action and inflicted damage against the NPA unit,” he said.
However, it is not clear whether Francisco’s statement serves as the official findings of the investigation, which NDFP chief negotiator said as underway.