DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army declared on Wednesday morning the termination of its unilateral ceasefire declaration after more than five months.
In a statement, Ka Oris, spokesperson of the NPA said the unilateral ceasefire, declared last August 28, will end at 11:59 pm on February 10.
Among the reasons that Ka Oris cited is the non-release of political prisoners.
Ka Oris said the CPP and NPA declared the unilateral ceasefire declaration based on “the mutual understanding with the GRP that such releases will take effect within 60 days of August 28.”
“Such was the context why the GRP panel approached the NDFP towards the end of October seeking an extension of the CPP/NPA’s declaration with a promise that around 200 political prisoners were set to be released,” he said.
“The Duterte regime failed to fulfill such obligation even though the CPP obliged it by extending the ceasefire declaration to more than 150 days,” Ka Oris added.
He also said that the government took advantage of the ceasefire to encroach the territories claimed by the NPA. The area covers 164 municipalities and 43 provinces.
“The GRP’s armed forces have occupied at least 500 barrios which are within the authority of the revolutionary government,” he said.
Ka Oris cited the recent skirmish in Makilala, North Cotabato on Jan. 21, while the GRP and the CPP’s political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were talking in Rome, Italy. An NPA fighter was killed in the incident which the NPA said was a violation of the ceasefire declared by the government.
“Over the past months, NPA units have maneuvered to evade AFP offensive operations which have heightened over the past weeks. Armed skirmishes over the past days were bound to erupt in the face of relentless and heightened AFP offensives, on the one hand, and efforts of the NPA to actively defend the people’s interests,” he said.
But Ka Oris maintained that while they terminate the unilateral ceasefire, they will continue to support the peace negotiation.
“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,” he said.
Starting Wednesday and until February 10, Ka Oris said NPA units are ordered to carry out “active defense.”
“They must counteract, frustrate and punish AFP-CAFGU-PNP interior patrol operations, AFP psywar operations under Oplan Kapayapaan, AFP units occupying barangays and communities and enemy armed offensives posing as anti-drug and anti-crime operations,” he said. (davaotoday.com)