- Communist Party of the Philippines to declare ceasefire on August 20
- The party said ceasefire to be in support of the resumption of peace talks
- It also explained why the communists did not immediately heed Duterte’s ultimatum
MANILA, Philippines – A day after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire with its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) announced it would be declaring its own unilateral ceasefire with the government on August 20 — the date of the resumption of formal peace talks.
“To further support peace negotiations, the CPP is willing to issue a unilateral ceasefire declaration separately but simultaneously with the Duterte government on August 20. The time-frame can be determined through negotiations,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted the CPP as saying.
While lamenting Duterte’s lifting of the government’s ceasefire order, the CPP expressed optimism it would not derail their peace talks.
“We trust, however, that this will not affect preparations for formal resumption of peace negotiations scheduled for August 20-27 in Oslo, Norway, nor will it preclude the GRP President from reissuing such a declaration simultaneously with a similar unilateral declaration by the CPP and NPA on August 20,” the CPP said.
The party also defended its slow response to Duterte’s appeal for them to issue their own ceasefire; saying it had to act prudently in light of events in the field.
“The CPP took the more prudent path of moving slowly in a deliberate effort to observe the situation at the ground even as it ordered the NPA to stay on active defense,” the party said. “The CPP, however, will not allow itself to be browbeaten to order the NPA to go on a ceasefire while operating troops of the AFP showed no plans on letting up in their search-and-destroy operations and frenzied offensives that terrorize civilian communities.”
Duterte lifted the ceasefire order on Saturday after the NPA failed to meet the 5 PM deadline to explain why it ambushed government militiamen in Davao del Norte. Hours after the deadline lapsed, local NPA commanders explained they pre-empted a military attack on their camp.