DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte says that he will have to consult the military and the police if it is already “safe for them” if the government declares a ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“I will have to ask the military, “are you safe already?” “I would have to ask them because they are the ones dying for us,” said Duterte in a press conference early morning Sunday, August 21.
“This time I will consult the military and the police, it would only be proper,” he said.
“Kasi nung nagdeclare ako ng ceasefire namatayan sila, so napahiya ako (Because when I declared a ceasefire they suffered casualties, so I was embarrased),” Duterte said.
This was Duterte’s statement even as Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza announced the government’s declaration of the restoration of the unilateral ceasefire with the CPP, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday, August 20.
“I am pleased to announce that President Rodrigo Duterte has restored the effects of the unilateral ceasefire with the CPP/ NPA/NDF effective 12 midnight tonight, 21 August 2016. The duration of the ceasefire will last for as long as necessary to bring peace in the land and also in order to provide an enabling environment for the success of the peace negotiations that will start in Oslo, Norway on August 22,” Dureza said in a press release.
Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire during his first State of the Nation Address on Sunday, July 25. But the President withdrew it five days after when a Cafgu Armed Auxiliary was killed by the NPAs in Kapalong town in Davao del Norte. Duterte also gave an ultimatum for the CPP to reciprocate the unilateral ceasefire declaration on July 30, but the CPP’s announcement came late.
Duterte said he was the first to show good faith, but he said he was “reciprocated by a lot of ambuscades.”
However, the NPA said they were only “thwarting” the military action of the CAA and the Army who were “on combat operations.” The Army denied the accusations.
The CPP and the National Operations Command of the New People’s Army issued a unilateral declaration of ceasefire starting 12:01 am Sunday, August 21 until 11:59 of August 27. The CPP said the declaration was to celebrate the release of political prisoners and to bolster the peace talks.
Duterte said that he needs to know now whether the CPP’s declaration of ceasefire is true.
“So it’s a matter of sincerity. Is it for good? Is it true?” he said.
He also said that he wants to see the two panels are already talking over substantial issues before issuing a ceasefire declaration.
Meanwhile, peace advocates lauded both the government and the NDF for their commitment to pursue peace negotiations.
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform said that “prospects have never been brighter” for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government and hte NDF. PEPP cited the release of the detained NDF consultants who will be participating in the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway starting Monday, August 22.
“This optimistic mood is a testament to the seriousness of both parties to transcend differences exemplified by the ceasefire issue a few weeks ago,” the PEPP said.
It said they hope that the peace process will result to a successful output, especially on the agenda of the social and economic reforms.
“We pray and wish that this meeting produces a result that can be added to other previously signed agreements,” it said. (davaotoday.com)