DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte lifted Friday the government’s declaration of ceasefire with the New People’s Army, armed-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“I am asking the soldiers: Go back to your camps, clean your rifles and be ready to fight,” Duterte said during the launching of the irrigation system in Barangay Janiuay, M’lang, North Cotabato.
Duterte’s statement came as the NPA announced earlier this week that it would end its truce with the government.
He said that his decision to lift the government’s ceasefire with the communist rebels was due to NPAs “unreasonable demands.”
“Kaya kagabi, I decided, I called [military chief] General [Eduardo] Año, and said ni-lift ang ceasefire tonight,” Duterte said.
With the given situation, the president pointed achieving peace with the communists may no longer be possible in this generation.
“I guess peace with the communists cannot be realized during our generation,” the tough-talking Duterte said. “I really would like to express my sadness. We cannot have a peaceful generation. There will be always be fights.”
When the NPA announced last Wednesday its ceasefire declaration, Duterte said he lost six military officers.
“I have lost many soldiers in just 48 hours, I think to continue with the ceasefire does not or will not produce anything,” Duterte said.
Release of political prisoners
It can be recalled that NPA’s spokesperson, Ka Oris, said that one of the main reason why the CPP’s armed-wing withdrew its unilateral ceasefire which will take effect on Feb. 10 was the government’s failure to release all the 400 political prisoners.
But Duterte said that a peace agreement must be signed first before the government would heed to the demands of the communists, referring to the release of 400 political prisoners.
“I went out of my way to release as much as mga leader nila nasa Oslo, para lang makipag-usap. Now there is this demand na irelease ko yung 400 e ‘di parang nag-grant na ako ng amnesty (proclamation) niyan,” Duterte said in his speech.
“I do not own the Republic of the Philippines. I do not decide alone. I consult people, particularly the military,” Duterte said, noting that the release of NPA leaders are enough. (davaotoday.com)