National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel during the opening ceremony of the third round of formal talks with the Philippine government on January 19 in Rome, Italy. From left, panel member Julie De Lima, panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili, and chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines said until there is no formal notice of termination from the government’s peace panel, they will consider the peace negotiations still in effect.

“We continue to look forward to the scheduled talks on February 22 to 24 and April 2-6,” it said in a statement two days after the “Left president” announced that he is terminating the peace negotiations with the communists.

However, while it looked optimistic with the peace talks, it also expressed dismay with the President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to rearrest NDFP negotiators who were released by the government.

It added that to recall the cancellation of passports and rearrest of NDFP negotiators and consultants is considered as “gross acts of treachery and grave violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).”

“The JASIG was reaffirmed by the Duterte regime and the NDFP just a few months ago. It guarantees non-reprisal against each other’s peace personnel,” it said.


The CPP also said Duterte shows that he is using the peace talks to pacify the revolutionary forces.

“It is dismaying that Duterte is showing interest in peace negotiations with the NDFP only as long as it can be used as a tool for pacification to compel the revolutionary forces to accept a prolonged ceasefire,” it said.

The CPP said, this “is not only without substantial gain or benefit for the people, but also detrimental to the people as it gives the reactionary state armed forces impunity in carrying out abuses against the people in the countryside.”

“It has become quite clear that Duterte, who relies on the support of the AFP for his political survival, now favors the military and police more than the people,” the CPP noted.

Duterte on Friday said the communists should not coerce him to release the almost 400 political prisoners as this might earn him the anger of the military. He also ordered the government peace panel to “fold up the tents” as he suspended the peace negotiations.

“Huwag n’yo akong ipitin because the military might not like it. And then the military would oust me, would kill me, you have nobody talking to you,” Duterte added.

“’Pag ang military magalit, hindi naman na hindi sila sang-ayon sa akin, but they would always support you if they think you are right,” Duterte said.

Duterte also denied that he promised amnesty to all political prisoners saying he is “not stupid” to make such arrangements. He said an amnesty is given once there is a final peace agreement achieved.

He criticized the New People’s Army for its attacks on government troops in Bukidnon last February 1 resulting to the death of three soldiers. One of which, he said, bore 73 gunshot wounds.

Duterte’s Friday announcement was followed by a stronger statement tagging the CPP, its armed wing, the NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as “terrorist” organizations.

To this, the CPP criticized  Duterte who “makes the absurd claim that the release of all political prisoners is equivalent to a ‘surrender’ of the GRP, disregarding the basic fact that they have been charged with trumped up cases and are victims of a flagrant injustice.”

It added that the release of all political prisoners through a presidential amnesty proclamation was a promise that the President “made several times since May 2016.”

“This is also an obligation entered into by the GRP negotiating panel since August, In the most recent round of talks, the GRP reiterated its promised to expeditiously process the release of all political prisoners even as it will continue to study the issuance of an amnesty proclamation,” it said.

“In declaring he will not release all political prisoners, Duterte says he must also listen to the military, even if this means turning a deaf ear to the people’s cry for justice,” it added.

Two months notice

The CPP added  that its announcement of terminating the ceasefire declaration was made “with more than sufficient forewarning since two months ago.”

On February 1, the CPP Central Committee and the National Operations Command of the NPA announced the termination of its unilateral ceasefire effective on Feb. 10.

It said the Army’s “strike operations” intensified over the past weeks leading to a military operation that killed an NPA in Makilala town, North Cotabato in January 23 and the Jan. 26 attack in an NPA camp in Matalam, also in North Cotabato.

“The relentless offensive operations of the AFP show it has long been contriving a scenario to force an end to the reciprocal ceasefire declarations,” the CPP said, calling the Army’s support to peace talks as “hypocritical public posturing.”

The CPP said Duterte was the one who ordered the deployment of troops in guerrilla zones.

“He glosses over the fact that it was he and the AFP hierarchy that has ordered the forward deployment of armed troops in the guerrilla zones and bases of the NPA to occupy barrios in the guise of “peace and order”, “delivery of social services” and other pretexts, and to sow fear and intimidation among the people and carry out armed offensive operations despite the reciprocal declarations of unilateral ceasefire,” it said.

“The forward deployed armed troops of the AFP were bound to be struck by NPA active defense actions,” it added. (

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