- President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with leftist rebels during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday
- The government’s unilateral ceasefire means the military will stop all offensive operations against communist rebels
- CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni viewed the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the President as a welcome development
MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to end the longest running Maoist insurgency in Asia, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire with leftist rebels on Monday.
Rose-An Jessica Dioquino mentioned in her article for GMA News that Duterte made the announcement in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) and ahead of his administration’s scheduled first formal talks with communist rebels on August 20.
“To the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines], let us end decades of ambuscades, we are going nowhere and it is getting bloodier by the day. To immediately stop violence in the ground, restore peace in the communities, I am now announcing a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF effective immediately and call on…the NDF and its forces to respond,” the President said.
The government’s unilateral ceasefire means the military will stop all offensive operations against communist rebels.
The Armed Forces said it fully supports Duterte’s declaration of ceasefire, however, they clarified that government forces will not back down if attacked by communist rebels.
“The Commander-in-Chief has initiated a very bold move and we fully support him in his effort to bring sustainable & lasting peace to our whole country,” AFP spokesperson Restituto Padilla said.
“The AFP will abide by the Commander-in-Chief’s instruction but will remain alert, vigilant and ready to defend itself and pursue attackers if confronted by armed elements of the NPA. The government has shown its sincerity and we expect no less from the other party,” Padilla added.
Padilla said the Filipino people had longed for and deserve peace, and in return, the armed forces should work diligently like they have been doing all these years to deliver that.
An article by Dharel Placido for ABS-CBN News said that CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni viewed the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the President as a welcome development.
The CPP-NPA-NDF said they are willing to reciprocate the move, however, it will only happen if they see the “actual content of the ceasefire declaration, the actual withdrawal of troops; and if possible, have political detainees released along with the ceasefire declaration.”
“I welcome President Duterte’s announcement of unilateral ceasefire of the AFP and PNP in relation to the NPA. Within the hour, the NDFP will issue a positive response,” Sison said.
“It is still waiting for the full text of the Duterte’s ceasefire order. It also anticipates the release of the political prisoners under a general amnesty. We share with President Duterte the determination to resume the formal talks and work for a just and lasting peace,” he added.